Blockers (2018) Review

Blockers (2018)

Directed by Kay Cannon

Starring: Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena, Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, Gideon Adlon, Gary Cole, Gina Gershon

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Three parents try to stop their daughters from having sex on prom night.

My Opinion:

Look! I went to a silly sex comedy! Not normally my choice of movie to go to in the cinema (Comedies are usually a “wait for Netflix” thing for me), but I had a day of freedom and chose to go to whatever movies I could manage. This immediately followed Love, Simon (my review for that is HERE).

Blockers was fine. I got a few good laughs out of it but I’ll probably forget most of it in a few years. It’s quite similar to the Seth Rogen/Judd Apatow type of comedies so you should like this one if you like those. But this one was directed by a woman (Kay Cannon). Yay! See? We can make dumb sex comedies just as well as the dudes! And it IS a dumb sex comedy. It’s had some decent reviews, making me think it might slightly transcend the usual predictable & stereotypical sex comedies. Not really. It’s the same sort of thing and the central female teen characters aren’t any different from the male teens in other sex comedies. But I suppose that’s progress somewhat? And the storyline isn’t quite as predictable as it could’ve been. There are three girls who make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night and the end result for each of their stories isn’t necessarily what you’ll guess.

I can’t fault any of the performances. Leslie Mann was probably the best, so if you hate her you may not love this. What’s sad is that I’m really showing my age as she’s the one I could most relate to. John Cena was quite funny. He’s another wrestler, right?? Funny how those wrestlers do comedy pretty well (I guess it’s not much different than their main job). The other guy was a bit annoying (Ike Barinholtz – I don’t really know him). The three girls were all likable enough. And did we see Gary Cole’s actual penis?! I’ll have to tell my mom – she loved him in Midnight Caller. There’s a puke scene reminiscent of Stand By Me (but of course not as good as that) and I’m still grossed out by ass beer.

As far as dumb sex comedies go, Blockers was okay. Not the best but not the worst. It’s not as straightforward as “Don’t let our daughters have sex but it’s okay if our sons do!” as everyone seems to be thinking since everyone loves to immediately freak out these days without getting all the facts. I hate people. American Pie is certainly better and I probably slightly preferred the Bad Neighbors movies when it comes to current dumb comedies but Blockers was all it needed to be. I think it could’ve done with being raunchier, to be honest. It felt like they were holding back a little (probably because everyone is an uptight asshole nowadays). As a female, I found nothing offensive unlike in some of the sex comedies from my day. I’d still like to see a truly great modern sex comedy, though. But I did appreciate that this one had some heart with its daughter/parent relationships, making it a little more likable than some.

My Rating: 6/10

Advertisements

Kung Fu Panda 3, The House Of Magic, Rio 2 & Muppets Most Wanted Movie Reviews

I have four quickie kids’ film reviews for you today! I promise they’ll be quick. Why? Because I barely remember three of them.

I’ve just seen Kung Fu Panda 3 so that review will be a little longer than the rest. You see, I get a little annoyed when I look at the pages on my blog & see that I still have some movies that I watched but never reviewed on the 2014 page & the 2015 page (never mind the 2016 page! I’m way behind). It’s especially annoying that the only movies that I actually went to the cinema to see but then didn’t review were these three 2014 kids’ movies. They were so “meh” that I guess I couldn’t be bothered.

So, here we go! I’ll finally say something about them two years later. I’m limiting myself to one paragraph each for the three older ones (plus my kid’s opinion on each). But let’s start with the longer review for the most current film (and by far the best of the four)…

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)

Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson & Alessandro Carloni

Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, J. K. Simmons, James Hong, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Bryan Cranston, Kate Hudson

From: DreamWorks Animation

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.

My Opinion:

I actually thought this movie was really good. As far as DreamWorks movies go, at least. I’ve stated here before how I see DreamWorks movies as strictly kids’ films while I view Pixar & most Disney ones as just being great films overall for every age group. Like, I wouldn’t feel weird discussing both WALL-E & Citizen Kane in the same breath. Except, I’ve not seen Citizen Kane… Never mind.

What I liked about Kung Fu Panda 3 is that, while it has a message as does every kids’ movie, it didn’t let the message get in the way of the movie being fun and actually making kids laugh. The previous movie we went to as a family was Disney’s Zootropolis (aka Zootopia) & I did NOT expect to think a DreamWorks film was far better than a Disney one! But that’s the case this time.

Kung Fu Panda 3 hasn’t forgotten that, first & foremost, it’s meant to be aimed at kids. I felt that Zootropolis completely forgot this while trying to drive its message home with a convoluted plot and uninteresting characters. But Kung Fu Panda 3 isn’t dumbed down for kids, either, which is a big pet peeve of mine. Kids aren’t stupid & shouldn’t be treated that way. The jokes were all age-appropriate without being dumb but also not being too grown-up like things such as the Godfather references in Zootropolis.

I have to admit that Kung Fu Panda 3 was even enjoyable to me as an adult who probably wouldn’t watch many animated films not made by Disney or Pixar if I didn’t have a kid. I do love Jack Black (I don’t care about the haters!) and think he’s been perfect as Po in all these films. I think all the characters are strong & really like the setting and the look. In this one, the baby pandas are adorable & even had grumpy me going “aww”. The baddie in this one was also pretty cool, as were his storyline & all the chi stuff. Plus I’m a sucker for the color green. Here’s the baddie:

I’d even go so far as to say that I like the Kung Fu Panda movies the most out of all the ones made by DreamWorks. I find Shrek a little overrated and I’d say that the How To Train Your Dragon films are possibly their “best” work but they’ve never really clicked with me at all (or the kid). But all three of us have enjoyed each of the three Kung Fu Panda movies.

My Rating: 7/10

My Kid’s Opinion: She liked this movie a lot & giggled through the whole thing. She was far more enthusiastic about this one than she was after walking out of Zootropolis, which she called “not very good”. Her favorite part was Po doing his “chitty chitty chat chat” thing that she’s been annoying us with ever since (thanks a lot, Jack Black!). She also loved the baby pandas, especially when they ate everything in sight. She’s not watched the first two films since we went to see them but this one has renewed her interest (and mine!) in watching those again. I’d happily pick them up on DVD now – I think this is a very solid trilogy from DreamWorks.

The House Of Magic (2013) (US Title: Thunder And The House Of Magic)

Directed by Jeremy Degruson & Ben Stassen

Starring: Cinda Adams, George Babbit, Murray Blue, Kathleen Browers, Joey Camen, Grant George, Shanelle Gray, Nina Grillo, Kyle Hebert

From: nWave Pictures, StudioCanal

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The House of Magic is a 2013 3D Belgian-French computer-animated fantasy-comedy film. The film focuses on an abandoned young cat who seeks shelter in the home of an old, retired magician with his automatons and gizmos.

My Opinion:

I admit to not fully remembering the plot of this strange little Belgian/French film (which was in English but I assume originally in French?) two years later. But I clearly remember the kind old magician, the cat he adopts, and the man’s REALLY cool magical toys (automatons and gizmos) such as that adorable lightbulb dude in the photo at the very top of this post. I also remember some great songs being used quite prominently (The Lovecats by The Cure & the always catchy House Of Fun by Madness). It’s not some big Disney, DreamWorks, etc production and that does show but I still thought that the characters, the music, and especially those inventive toys were pretty damn good! I wonder if those who made this have gone on to do more animated films? I’d like to see this sort of thing with a bigger budget. It’s a very sweet & charming film from what I remember. I wouldn’t complain at being made to watch it again.

My Rating: 6/10

My Kid’s Opinion: She doesn’t now remember much of this but does remember all those really cool toys that I mentioned above. She said she’d like to watch it again too (fine with me – I’ll pick up the DVD if I see it).

Rio 2 (2014)

Directed by Carlos Saldanha

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Andy García, Bruno Mars, Jemaine Clement, Kristin Chenoweth, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, will.i.am, Jamie Foxx

From: Blue Sky Studios

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
It’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids after they’re hurtled from Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets his father-in-law.

My Opinion:

Wow. I really remember very little of this except that I think it was about saving the rainforest, right? I don’t remember the first one either – I only know that these Rio movies are very bright & colorful and have some big musical numbers that are okay. This is from Blue Sky, whose movies are quite similar to DreamWorks in that I see them strictly as films aimed at kids and only truly enjoyed by kids. The only Blue Sky one I really liked was The Peanuts Movie but that’s because I’m obsessed with Peanuts & the movie stayed very true to its spirit. Don’t get me wrong – these Rio movies aren’t bad. They’re very pretty to look at & not the worst way to spend a couple of hours with your kid but I don’t think they’re very memorable. I’d have to say that the Ice Age films are a stronger series from this studio as the characters are better. Also, could they get a more annoying set of voice actors for Rio? Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann & Kristin Chenoweth(!!)?? Ugh. I think I remember Eisenberg’s bird kids in this being quite cute, though…

My Rating: 5.5/10

My Kid’s Opinion: She says she liked this although she couldn’t remember the specifics of it now. She said “I liked the pink frog!” (Ugh. Kristin Chenoweth.) I think it’s proof that the Rio films are pretty & enjoyable enough while being watched but are ultimately forgettable.

Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Directed by James Bobin

Starring: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey, The Muppets

From: Walt Disney Pictures

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
While on a grand world tour, The Muppets find themselves wrapped into an European jewel-heist caper headed by a Kermit the Frog look-alike and his dastardly sidekick.

My Opinion:

I grew up with The Muppet Show so I of course love The Muppets. Who doesn’t?! The Muppets movie in 2011 (2012 here) was pretty good. It was fun and managed to kind of capture the spirit of the original show (plus I like Amy Adams). But I found Muppets Most Wanted really disappointing even though it was great, as always, to see these beloved characters. The problem was the messy, boring story and the fact that I really didn’t like the main real-life stars. Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell & Tina Fey? How do you go from Amy Adams to some TV stars? Never been a fan of any of them (in fact, who is Ty Burrell anyway? That prick in Dawn Of The Dead??). I just think they made a real mess of this movie – I’ll stick to watching my DVDs of the original show.

My Rating: 5.5/10

My Kid’s Opinion: She remembers this one more than I thought she would! She remembers the plot & the evil Kermit with the mole. She likes The Muppets & says she liked this movie. Maybe I should give it another try…

This is her favorite Muppet-related thing. I agree:

**I’d like to finally take this opportunity to draw attention to a favorite blogger of mine here who does fantastic paintings of The Muppets (and loads of other awesome artwork with a focus on pop culture – but I first started following him because of The Muppets). Please have a look at Scott’s site at Mojoswork.com. You can see all his Muppets artwork HERE.

Scott – I’m sorry it took me two years to finally get around to doing this review! Let me know if you want me to add any more info or if you want me to include a specific Muppets image you’ve done. 🙂 Oh! Scott does a lot of wrestling & sports stuff as well and I thought his History Of The WWF was absolutely amazing despite knowing nothing of that sort of thing myself (MIB – you should really check this out).

I figure I should end this with some Madness since I have House Of Fun in my head after talking about The House Of Magic. I miss this era of music!

The Bling Ring (2013) Review

Welcome to Coppola Week at Cinema Parrot Disco! I just so happened to watch several movies directed by both Francis Ford & Sofia Coppola in the past several months so I figured “What the hell – I might as well review them all in the same week and pretend I’m organized & shit and that I actually planned it that way!”. So, I set it for the week of Mr Coppola’s birthday (this coming Thursday).

Here we go! I’ll be reviewing two from each of them this week. Oh, and don’t go expecting big stuff like The Godfathers… I saw those years ago. These are all Coppola movies that I only saw for the very first time recently. Let’s start with a fairly recent one directed by Sofia:

The Bling Ring (2013)

Directed & Written by Sofia Coppola

Based on The Suspects Wore Louboutins by Nancy Jo Sales

Starring: Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien, Emma Watson, Leslie Mann

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities’ whereabouts in order to rob their homes.

My Opinion:

This had a lot of potential as the true story is rather fascinating. This could’ve been a deep & meaningful piece exploring the worrying way in which so many teenagers today are extremely shallow & are overly obsessed with celebrities and with possessions. But it’s not! The film feels as shallow as its asshole teenagers and the asshole celebrities they stole enough designer handbags from to feed a small country. (With, like, the proceeds had they sold the handbags. I’m bad with words… You know what I mean!)

To be fair, I don’t think it’s really Sofia Coppola’s fault. I can see why she’d want to make a movie about this story but I think it’s quite hard to make a movie where every character is so completely hateful (I need to see The Hateful Eight to see if this statement is still true!). Well, okay – the one male involved in the robberies isn’t entirely hateful, which was was good since this movie desperately needed that one person who seemed human. But I have to say that Emma Watson must be a really good actress because I hated her character with a passion! Her character is the perfect example of everything that’s wrong with spoiled, self-obsessed Western youth.

As for the true story, I’ve not read the original article this movie is based on & not looked into the real people and how closely this movie portrayed things. I just don’t care enough to bother. It’s hard to really feel anything for anyone in this story. It’s basically about the “haves” stealing from the “have-even-mores”. I don’t know if this is how it really was but I got the impression that they were able to rob Paris Hilton more than once as, when you have hundreds of designer bags & shoes & pieces of jewelry, you don’t even notice when some go missing. That’s really quite sad. What these teenagers did was of course very wrong & a crime in need of punishment but, with all the horrible stuff going on in the world, no one is exactly going to cry over some celebrities having been robbed of a few possessions.

But despite the subject matter, I didn’t hate this movie. I guess I just wanted a little something more from it but it was interesting seeing just how easily these teenagers broke into these celebrity houses. You would think there would be loads of alarms, locks, etc! Never mind their possessions – aren’t celebrities worried about their personal safety? I’ll say that it seemed these teenagers broke into these houses, especially Paris Hilton’s which they kept going back to, just as much to hang out & get a taste of living the celebrity lifestyle as to steal things and that’s the only time I almost felt a little sorry for them & was reminded that they’re really just kids.

I think I was just disappointed as I really love Coppola’s Lost In Translation and think The Virgin Suicides is quite a beautiful work of art. Those films have so much style (and fantastic soundtracks! I love when Coppola puts a lot of effort into the music used in her movies). The Bling Ring just tells its story in a very straightforward way and feels much different from other Sofia Coppola movies I’ve seen. There’s nothing actually wrong with the film and I have to say I somewhat enjoyed watching it as, like the teenagers, I think a lot of us are at least a little fascinated with celebrities and the lifestyles they lead. Hey, I admit that I used to watch Cribs on MTV! 😉 This movie is a bit like watching an episode of that, in a way, and I did like seeing inside the homes & wondered how close they made them to the actual homes that were robbed. Like, does Paris Hilton actually have her face plastered all over her walls & on her throw pillows?! Lol. Bizarre. I suppose I just can’t stand the type of people this movie portrays but, once it got past what felt like 45 minutes of the characters taking duckface selfies, the movie was half over anyway as it’s quite short. A shallow film about shallow people but worth watching if you’re interested in the story and bear in mind that you’re not going to get anything deep from it.

My Rating: 6/10

This Is 40, Admission & Bad Grandpa Movie Reviews

IMG_1220

Time to start getting more movies off my “Reviews To Do” list! Since starting this blog, I feel like I must review absolutely every single movie I watch. I’ve put off reviewing some because I just don’t have much to say about them (especially things like throwaway comedies & the occasional chick flick) so I’ll start reviewing movies like these together every now & then. Most movies like these are ones I watched in 2014 so I’m a little behind. But they’re on my list! I gotta do them!!! 😉

So here are three quickies! One was boring, one was okay, and one I really enjoyed.

IMG_1203
This Is 40 (2012)

Directed by Judd Apatow

Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, John Lithgow, Megan Fox, Chris O’Dowd, Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy, Graham Parker, Albert Brooks

My Opinion: This is the one that was okay. I watched This Is 40 at least a year ago & remember thinking something along the lines of “I enjoyed that but I better review it quick because I won’t remember much of it in a year”. Ha! It’s true. For example: That annoying Melissa McCarthy was in this? Really?? And I forgot that the even more annoying Megan Fox was in this. Well, I watched this for Paul Rudd. If it had been a different male star, I doubt I’d have bothered.

I have yet to love anything from Judd Apatow. I feel like I should as I suppose I’m the sort of target age range for his stuff? I don’t know… Who here is a huge Apatow fan? What am I missing? Looking at what he’s written and/or directed, I did like The 40 Year-Old Virgin and remember that pretty well even though it’s much older and I only saw it once. This Is 40 is probably my second favorite but considering I only remember certain parts of it a year later doesn’t say much for it, I guess.

I liked Rudd, as always, but this wasn’t exactly my favorite ever character of his. He & Leslie Mann were fine but there was maybe a little too much of the “Oh god! I’m 40 & having a midlife crisis!” thing going on. I liked the family as a whole & they felt like a real-life family. Of course, it probably helps that the kids are the real-life daughters of Apatow & Mann but the Hollywood nepotism thing and Apatow’s insistence on always casting his borderline-annoying wife is, like the characters in This Is 40, getting a little old.

IMG_1210

I do remember laughing a few times throughout this movie. It’s not a laugh-out-loud comedy but an observation on our relationships in life and, of course, growing old. It’s much more grown-up than some of Apatow’s other films and I can’t see as many people enjoying it unless they’re approaching or past the big Four-Oh. For the most part, I think this was a pretty well-written film and I liked the different sorts of relationships between the three generations of both Rudd’s & Mann’s families. It’s just a “watch it once and you have no need to watch it again” type of film. I’d only recommend it if you’re a fan of any of the stars or the director AND you’re at least 35.

My Rating: 6.5/10

IMG_1202
Admission (2013)

Directed by Paul Weitz

Starring: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Nat Wolff, Michael Sheen, Wallace Shawn, Lily Tomlin

My Opinion: This is the boring one of these three movies. As you can see, it’s Paul Rudd again and I only watched it because he’s in it. This is one of those damn “dramedy” romance movies. Dramedies sometimes work but this one didn’t have much comedy and I didn’t care enough about Tina Fey’s character to give a shit about her drama. Like This Is 40, this is a more grown-up movie for a slightly older audience but the forced quirkiness of some of the characters and Tina Fey’s uptight Princeton admissions officer just didn’t work for me.

IMG_1212

Paul Rudd was his usual adorable, likeable self but I’ll admit he always plays the same character (which is fine if you like him like I do). I’ve never really been a fan of Tina Fey, who also plays her usual self, so I can’t say I liked her character (which isn’t good as she’s the main star & the film centers on her career & relationship struggles). Nat Wolff was in this, who played the slightly annoying friend in The Fault In Our Stars and has the lead role in the next John Green adaptation coming out (Paper Towns, a book I really didn’t like so it’ll be interesting to see if the movie is any better). I did like Lily Tomlin as Fey’s mother and Wallace Shawn had a small role as Fey’s boss. It always gives me warm fuzzies just hearing his distinctive voice… “Inconceivable“! This is one of those movies that just tries too hard to be intelligent & serious and ends up feeling fake & forced. To be fair, romantic dramedy isn’t my favorite genre in the first place but this one just didn’t work for me at all.

My Rating: 5/10

IMG_1204
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013)

Directed by Jeff Tremaine

Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, A bunch of unsuspecting victims

My Opinion: Well, damn – I thought this was hilarious. Why am I ashamed to admit that?! I’ve thought all the Jackass movies were a riot. They’re not the sort of movies I’ve ever felt the need to watch more than once but they’re entertaining as hell on a first watch when you don’t know what kind of outrageous stuff to expect. I don’t really get why I like them as, in real life, I hate dumbass guys who do childish, idiotic things. I guess you have to give Johnny Knoxville credit for making a career out of it – he earns way more money than I do!

It was kind of weird at first how they acted out this fictional story of “grandpa & grandson” but I think it worked and, in the end, it was actually sort of sweet in a weird, f*%ked up kind of way. Johnny Knoxville was also in the movie Fun Size with the kid (Jackson Nicoll) and the kid was the best thing about that strange but somewhat enjoyable Nickelodeon movie. This kid cracks me up but I can’t say I’d ever let my kid hang out with any of the Jackass guys… Ha! Talk about bad role models!

IMG_1215

Anyway, I never thought I’d find explosive diarrhoea (UK spelling, FYI) or an old man’s testicles funny but what really works in this movie, I guess, is the shocked reactions from the poor bastards they play their pranks on. Looking at photos for this post I was reminded again of the pageant bit… Hahaha! Why do I like these juvenile Jackass movies?!? I should be ashamed. But I’m not!

My Rating: 7/10

Drillbit Taylor (2008) Guest Review

20140329-024035 pm.jpg

This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Rhetologue’s Movie Logs. Thank you for the reviews for this blogathon! Let’s see what he thought of Drillbit Taylor. 🙂

20140329-025647 pm.jpg

Drillbit Taylor is the tale of an ass kicking hobo that has the hallmarks of a John Hughes’ movie but in Seth Rogen’s hands. Movie Logs reviews this odd team up for Cinema Parrot Disco.

Drillbit Taylor follows three high school friends who, in finding themselves mercilessly bullied, hire a homeless man pretending to be a martial arts expert to defend them while at school.

Now, I was previously under the impression that Drillbit Taylor was the work of Seth Rogen but that’s only part of the story. It seems John Hughes pitched this story under the pseudonym Edmond Dantes, obviously a practice he was in the habit of doing when the idea was a little bit…poop. Drillbit Taylor is within a list that also includes Maid in Manhattan and the Beethoven franchise. In fact, Drillbit was Hughes’ last film before his death in 2009.

20140329-024338 pm.jpg

For Seth Rogen, being a part of this project was probably an amazing opportunity. His own career has been tremendously influenced by an irreverent and teen-centric world. From Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000) to this year’s Bad Neighbours, his work must have been influenced in some way by the coming of age tales of John Hughes.

Drillbit does have a whiff of the John Hughes about it with its irreverent themes, smartass kids and bizarre story. Yet it’s not particularly strong and that’s kind of the point. This is what John Hughes thinks is sellable but not worthy of his name. How strange is it that what Hughes considered poor seems awfully similar to what Seth Rogen made his name pumping out? This is the biggest problem with Drillbit Taylor – it seems at odds with itself.

The premise is pretty sweet and finds Owen Wilson as an affable wanderer that finds his opportunism and inspiring words fusing into a conscience.

20140329-024552 pm.jpg

Though this dynamic is at times compelling it’s never really funny…it just happens and you watch it because it’s there and that’s fine…I guess. Owen Wilson truly holds this movie together with his personal charisma. As Drillbit moves into the school to protect his wards, posing as a substitute teacher, the novelty of the story peeks out from under the banality.

However, when Drillbit starts a relationship with deluded teacher Lisa (Leslie Mann), he finds it harder to keep his old life a secret. He finds himself going head-to-head with two mindless school bullies, played by Drake and Josh’s reformed fat kid – Josh Peck – and the unflinching Alex Frost.

The lies, the economical attempts at romance, the suspense of finding ways to come to his wards’ rescue all help to make Drillbit Taylor watchable yet the balance of humour is not weighted in its favour.

With the help of the near faultless anxiousness of Leslie Mann, it gets so close. Then there’s Danny McBride and Reno 911’s Cedric Yarbrough playing a couple of homeless opportunists that are practically the 3rd baseman waving Owen in for a homer…yet somehow it doesn’t quite get there.

20140329-024712 pm.jpg

That might be because the movie struggles to generate empathy for the kids, who are the now generic characters referencing WASP and Jewish culture.

You know, they’re your quintessential chubby and short kid (Troy Gentile as Ryan), skinny and tall kid (Nate Hartley as Wade) and nerdy kid who probably smells of cough syrup and sea salt (David Dorfman as Emmitt). Those character profiles have served Seth Rogen well, as he’s built his whole career on them and hasn’t stopped using them yet. However, in this incarnation, it’s all too predictably placed and paced.

With Rogen writing and producing SuperBad a year earlier it also feels like a bit of a cheeky replication of characters. The kids are a little younger and we gain a little bit more back story, yet it’s ultimately covered ground. The battle rap scene is particularly cringe-worthy and is indicative of how 2000-and-late these characters seem in their contrivances.

This all helmed by director Steven Brill, who is not particularly in the business of making good films. This is the man that has brought us the likes of Little Nicky (2000) and Without a Paddle (2004), being just two of his affronts to cinema. Drillbit Taylor may be his bets movie to date yet it feels more like a weak version of an Adam McKay (Step Brothers, The Other Guys) movie, without the humour to back it up. Visually, Drillbit Taylor is nothing to write home about, and delivers some engaging sequences in all the predictable places if only to keep our attention.

20140329-024443 pm.jpg

Last words

“What more could you really want?”

I actually like Drillbit Taylor. It’s a fun movie even if it is pedestrian. It’s enjoyable even if it’s not particularly funny. It delivers some twisted moral but is still somehow inspirational. It achieves some poignancy without being particularly layered. Drillbit Taylor is simultaneously a terrible John Hughes movie, as it has none of the heart of his fare, and a passable Seth Rogen slam piece, as it exists to amuse and to fund Rogen’s money making habit. That’s quite the achievement.

Drillbit Taylor could never be considered a John Hughes movie in its finished form but in some respect it is the same concept as Weird Science – some nerds want to stop being bullied so employ the powers of a magical being to protect and empower them. In the case of Lisa, she was a sexy computer generated genie. In Drillbit’s case he’s a hobo who will say and do anything to make an easy buck until somehow his lies manifest in magical truth. Either way, they end result is still the same and it is that subtext that maintains the spirit of the movie despite its weaknesses.

Truly, Drillbit Taylor is the type of movie that forces you to ask yourself, on a lazy weekend when the remote is just out of reach, “what more could I possibly want?”

20140329-024825 pm.jpg

Drillbit Taylor (2008) Guest Review

20140322-024138 pm.jpg

This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from, umm… Rob of Movie Rob? I don’t know who he is. Lol! Just kidding, Rob – Thank you so much for helping to get me SOOO close to having EVERY Hughes film reviewed. I’ll try to find those last two myself & possibly do the two I haven’t received. Then it’ll be EVERY Hughes movie reviewed in one place! Wow! Now let’s see if Rob liked Drillbit Taylor. 🙂

20140322-024700 pm.jpg

“Now in addition to the Chinese Kung Fu we’ve got a little Mexican Judo, as in ‘Judon’t know who you messin’ with, homz.'” – Drillbit Taylor

Number of Times Seen – 1 (12 Mar 2014)

Brief Synopsis – 3 freshmen in high school decide to hire a bodyguard to protect them from bullies

My Take on it – I had heard of this one prior to watching it, but didn’t know anything about it.

I actually don’t feel that my life has been enriched in any way by finally seeing it tho.

This movie is at most a mediocre tale of 3 geeks who hire an ex-soldier to be their bodyguard in school. Little do they know that he is really an AWOL homeless vet who tries to use this “gig” as a way to fund his flight from the authorities to Canada.

The star of this movie is Owen Wilson who plays the title character and he acts…well..just like he always does, which doesn’t say much.

The writing here by John Hughes just isn’t anywhere near par for him and it seems that at this point, he really just raised up his arms and gave up trying to make good movies. There are a few humorous lines and scenes, but all in all not great.

This was Hughes’ final movie as a credited Writer since he died a year after this came out. He was probably quite ashamed by this screenplay because he used the pseudonym that he always used when he wrote a bad movie; Edmond Dantes (The main character of The Count of Monte Cristo).

Quite unfortunate since he didn’t have a chance to redeem himself from this one!

Bottom Line – Has some good lines but definitely a far cry from Hughes’ best. This one is mediocre at best. Wilson is his usual self which doesn’t say much for him.

Rating – BAFTA Worthy

Mr Peabody & Sherman (2014) Review

20140204-092006 am.jpg
Mr Peabody & Sherman (2014)

Directed by Rob Minkoff

Starring Voice Actors:
Ty Burrell
Max Charles
Leslie Mann
Stephen Colbert
Ariel Winter
Allison Janney
Stephen Tobolowsky
Mel Brooks

Studio: DreamWorks Animation
Pacific Data Images
Bullwinkle Studios

Running time: 92 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film based on the characters from the Peabody’s Improbable History segments of the 1960s animated television series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

(A genius dog teaches his adopted human son about history by taking him there using a time machine. It’s like Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure but not as cool or fun or good.)

20140204-092731 am.jpg
My Opinion:

This one will be quick – I promise! I didn’t like this movie. I’m never sure if I should write reviews of kids’ films from their perspective or mine. As an adult, you’re unlikely to enjoy this one. As a kid? I don’t know – I think it’s not aimed at a wide enough age range. I’d say this is maybe best for those between the ages of 6 & 9? There are too many “clever” jokes & puns and, of course, all the history lessons that the very young won’t understand. And I don’t think it’s funny enough or feels “grown-up” enough for anyone of ten or older to really be bothered about it. It’s a pretty typical animated kids’ film – It’s not one that the entire family can enjoy, no matter what age. Why can only Disney & Pixar achieve that perfect balance? I know I say that all the time but it really doesn’t seem that difficult.

20140204-092858 am.jpg
My biggest complaint about this movie is the above girl. She’s a HORRIBLE character! She’s a very bad example for any young girls watching this. She’s a spoiled little shit! And I’m not giving anything away by stating the obvious fact that she changes a bit through the film and becomes nicer. But it’s not enough! She’s still pretty awful through the whole thing. And people complain about Disney not having the best role models for girls sometimes? Those films always have a moral, even if the girls always have to be “pretty”. But the girl in this is mean for no reason and never apologizes and keeps having to be rescued and, honestly, I was like “Leave her stuck in history! We have enough bitches like this in 2014!”. And what’s with all the eyeliner? She’s meant to be, like, eight!

20140204-093000 am.jpg
Anyway. Rant over. I didn’t like this. I’m old but even I barely remember Rocky & Bullwinkle. I’m not sure why they’ve chosen to make this film as these characters will mean nothing to current kids. I guess they’re trying to re-introduce them to a new generation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. I can’t see these characters catching on again based on this film. It’s kind of a shame – it’s a decent enough idea and, with a time machine, there are SO many stories (and sequels) that could be done. I’m sure they just made this with sequel dollar signs in their eyes. But, man, they really could have done a better job with this one.

My Rating: 4.5/10

20140204-093122 am.jpg

ParaNorman (2012) Review for Halloween Horror Fest

20131020-110007 pm.jpg
ParaNorman (2012)

Directed by Sam Fell & Chris Butler

Starring Voice Actors:
Kodi Smit-McPhee
Jodelle Ferland
Tucker Albrizzi
Anna Kendrick
Casey Affleck
Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Leslie Mann
Jeff Garlin
Bernard Hill
Elaine Stritch
Tempestt Bledsoe
John Goodman
Alex Borstein

Studio: Laika

Distributed by: Focus Features
Universal Pictures (International)

Running time: 92 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Norman Babcock is able to see & speak with the dead. No one, including his family, believes him and he’s ridiculed & bullied at school. But it’s soon up to Norman to save his town from an old witch’s curse.

20131020-110153 pm.jpg
This is my second review for my Halloween Horror Fest. I first reviewed From Beyond (which was pretty messed up). I liked the sound of ParaNorman after reading Abbi’s review at Where The Wild Things Are HERE. She liked it okay so I figured it must be good as she’s not a huge fan of this sort of kids’ stuff usually. 🙂

20131020-110255 pm.jpg
My Opinion:

ParaNorman was a pleasant surprise. I really enjoyed it! This is from the same studio that made Coraline, which I fell asleep in the middle of in 2009 and haven’t yet bothered to finish. I know that was more highly rated & looked great but I really didn’t find it any fun to watch. ParaNorman is fun & a few things actually made me laugh (I’m not a “laugh out loud” person).

20131020-110359 pm.jpg
Norman can see all of the dead people in his small town of Blithe Hollow, Massachusetts, including his own grandmother (who lives in Norman’s living room & watches zombie movies with him). His father doesn’t believe him and wants him to start acting “normal”. His sister and his schoolmates think he’s a freak. One day an overweight bullied boy named Neil Downe befriends Norman after he sees him being bullied as well. I loved Neil! He’s a typical dorky chubby kid in a movie but he’s so sweet & funny that you can’t help but like him. He’s the first one to believe Norman & thinks it’s really cool that he can talk to the dead (As he says to Norman: “Can you see my dog, Bub? He was hit by an animal rescue van. Tragic and ironic.”). Ha! Well, it was funny in the movie.

20131020-110441 pm.jpg
I think what makes this film better than a lot of other kids’ films (Other than Pixar. Sorry – Nothing beats Pixar!) is the fact that it’s aimed at a higher age so a lot of the jokes and references are “older” and will also be funny to the adults watching it. I’m not talking anything risqué (I don’t think that has a place in a kids’ film) but things such as a great reference to Halloween (the movie, not the holiday). Loved that! And a Friday The 13th gag that was pretty damn funny too.

20131020-110557 pm.jpg
And speaking of that, it was great that this film has a clear love of old scary movies (traditional stuff – zombies, witches, etc). Norman’s room is full of classic movie monster toys, posters, a cool alarm clock, etc. It reminds me how little I’ve watched the old horror classics (Vincent Price, Hammer Horror, that kind of stuff…). It gives this film a great “Halloween” feel (the holiday, not the movie). This movie actually reminded me a bit of the 1986 Amazing Stories episode called “Go To The Head Of The Class”. I used to watch that EVERY October but had sort of forgotten about it until Norman made me think of the teenage boy in that (Scott Coffey), who is obsessed with classic horror films & agrees to perform some black magic on his mean old teacher (Christopher Lloyd) to impress a girl (Mary Stuart Masterson). Oh man – I want to watch that again. It’s been years! Hell – I’ll watch it and do a mini review later. Let’s finish talking about ParaNorman instead…

20131020-110724 pm.jpg

20131020-110734 pm.jpg
Summary:

ParaNorman is a great family film for the slightly older kids (maybe 8 or 9 and up but don’t quote me on that in case your 8-year-old is traumatized) that the adults will enjoy as well thanks to some genuinely funny stuff and references to horror classics. There’s still a “moral to the story” for the kids but it’s not a Disney-style one that’ll make the adults gag – It’s actually a good one for pre-teens. A pleasant surprise and a fun watch for this adult.

My Rating: 7.5/10

20131020-110840 pm.jpg
Sorry – that review was even more rubbish than usual because I’ve just realized that if I’m going to manage this Horror Fest I’ve planned, I’m going to have to post one review every day until Halloween now. Argh! So they’ll be written quickly…

Oh – Here’s another ParaNorman quote that made me giggle like an 11-year-old boy:

Mr. Prenderghast: [hiding behind statue] Psst!
Neil: [whispers to Norman] I think that statue just pissed at us.

Hahaha! I loved Neil. I’m immature…