Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Week in DVD - March 13th

Jack and Jill

Wow!  This really was a special kind of bad.  This movie deserves all the hate it gets from audiences and critics.  It's basically Adam Sandler in a dress doing yet another hilariously bad voice.  Where does he come up with this?  It's like a gift!

The sad thing is that the premise actually could have worked if they had actually spent more than 10 minutes coming up with anything funny or even slightly interesting.  The main problem is that both Jack and Jill are just simply unlikable people.  Jill is the type of person who's behavior just doesn't seem based in any kind of reality that I know.  She's dumb, self-absorbed and oblivious.  It's not even that she's unattractive physically, she's an ugly person on the inside, consistently saying stupid and rude things right to people's faces.  I wouldn't want to know her either, so it's no shock that her own brother wants nothing to do with her. Yet, they try to make her sympathetic.

Jack isn't much better though.  He's a smug asshole with no sense of humor and seemingly very little patience for people.  In every exchange he has with Nick Swardson's character when he'd chastise Swardson for making a bad joke poking fun at something obvious that anyone else would have done, I was thinking, "Wow!  You really have no sense of humor.  Only you are allowed to make jokes or be funny, eh."  It's kind of how I felt he was in Grown Ups, where Sandler's character is the most successful, most athletic and coolest of all of his friends.  Even in Just Go with It, he plays a character that's ultra-successful.  I think it's mainly that Sandler is just completely out of touch now.   Even the stupid look on his face in the poster bugs me.

The editing of this movie was terrible, too.  To illustrate an example, there's the scene you've all seen in the trailer where his adopted son punches Jill.  First off, you have to wonder, are you raising your son to be a psychopath?  He punches an adult in the face?  This is acceptable dinner table behavior?  Anyway, in the scene he has a pepper shaker taped to his head.  The problem is that in shot immediately before that, he has nothing taped ot his head.  It's just magically there with tons of tape applied to it.  This is something that would have taken time to do, but in the movie, it happens instantly as if done by magic.  Then in the next shot, he's not wearing it.  It just goes to show you that they just filmed a bunch of crap and then hastily edited all together without any real sense of story or continuity.  They just don't care.

The only highlight is Pacino playing and even more over the top version of himself.  He's kind of funny, but even then it starts to wear thin as the movie goes on.  It's not like it's enough to recommend seeing the film.

This entire movie is a giant eye roll.  It's unfunny and surprisingly mean spirited.

0 (out of 5) Death Stars - Don't watch it.  Ever!  F-You Sandler!


I knew I was in for cheese when the opening scene features a party of kids singing "Footloose".  It really kind of takes you out of the movie when the characters are singing the song made famous by the original.  It's like they were all aware of the fact they were in a movie, but without truly being meta.  It just didn't feel genuine at all.

Even though there was no need to do a remake of Footloose, it doesn't really bug me that they did.  With the popularity of stuff like Glee, you knew a remake was coming eventually.

It's pretty much the exact story as the original from what I recall of it, just with updated dance numbers and set pieces.  I was actually surprised there wasn't more dancing in it, or they didn't try to crowbar a singing performance from one of the actors.  They did a lot of updates and remixes of the original songs though.  Again, it felt weird to have so many references to the original, when it's likely most people watching this haven't seen it.

Watching the remake made me realize how silly this story is and doesn't translate to modern times.  They are rebelling against a law regarding dancing in public.  Dancing, in general, is not illegal.  Just dancing in public within city limits.  So you have a car right?  Just drive somewhere else when you want to dance..  Most people go to bars or clubs out of town to dance anyway.  Hell, they do this in the movie, when a group of them goes to a local country bar.  I have friends that consistently drive 30-40 miles out of their way to go dancing at The Saddle Rack or in San Francisco.  This really all just seems like a non-issue.

Kevin Bacon's character is played by Kenny Wormald.  I didn't mind him, but he seems like kind of a dork.  While he's no Kevin Bacon as far as charisma, he sure can dance though.  I'll give him that.  The love interest, played by Julianne Hough, I actually thought was kind of annoying.

I didn't hate Footloose, but I didn't think it a necessary remake or did anything to make you want to watch it over just watching the original.

2 (out of 5) Death Stars - It's not the worst thing to rent, but again, there's nothing here that's going to make you forget the original.

Like Crazy

Ah, young love.  It can make you so stupid.  Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones

This is one of those movies that irritates me because the whole reason for the main conflict in their relationship is something that could have easily been avoided.  She was warned by her family and even Yelchin's character didn't want her to overstay her visa.  But against everyone's better judgement, she does it anyway and now has to deal with the consequences.

Also, once they are apart long enough you see that both Yelchin and Jones were fooling around with other people.  When it's clear they have other options, I just didn't see anything in their relationship that was better than who they were currently with.  Especially, in the case of Yelchin's character, who had Jennifer Lawrence (bring on The Hunger Games!) all over him.

Oh, minor spoiler, they do get married at one point in an effort to use it as a loophole around the visa issue.  What's funny is that after the get married, they go from super in love to a bickering married couple in what feels like a day.

I thought movie was kind of drawn out and boring.  Even in the beginning, I though their relationship was too cute and annoying.  Plus there were too many music montages of them hanging out.  I really don't like that kind of stuff in romantic dramas.  The movie really would have benefit from any kind of humor in it.

2 (out of 5) Death Stars - If hipsterish dramas are your thing, then I think you might like it.  Otherwise, I say pass.

Really busy week for DVD releases, so quick recaps of stuff coming out today.  There are some real gems this week.

The Adventures of Tintin

I wrote in my original review that I was disappointed that this was too much of a kids film.  I thought the humor catered too much to a young demographic when I felt this movie could have had a broader appeal to it, especially when you consider it's a Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson movie.

It does have a great soundtrack though and animation was pretty great.  There are some impressive action sequences.  I just felt it was a little lacking.

I gave this 2.5 Death Stars originally, and I'm still in that 2.5-3.0 Death Star range.  It's a good family rental.  It's the kind of thing you could totally plop your kids in front of the TV and let them watch it without worry.

My Week with Marilyn

I really adored this movie and thought Michelle Williams was great.  She deserved her Golden Globe win and I was pulling for her to win the Oscar.  It didn't happen though.

As for the movie, I strongly recommend it.  Even if you weren't a big fan of Marilyn Monroe, I think it's a cute movie and is worth watching for the performances of Williams and Kenneth Branagh.

Incidentally, I still haven't had a chance to watch The Prince and the Showgirl.  It has been at the top of both my Netflix and Blockbuster queues since the day I saw My Week with Marilyn, and it's been in "Very Long Wait" status in both queues the entire time.  I guess I'm not the only person trying to catch up on this one.

I gave this 4 Death Stars in my original review and I stand by that rating.  It's a strong rental recommendation and it's a movie I eventually plan on picking up once the price drops a little.

Young Adult

Here's another movie I really enjoyed.  It's funny and a little dark.  I think Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt both gave fantastic performances, but were snubbed when it came to getting nominated for anything.  In particular, I think Patton Oswalt would have been more deserving than Jonah Hill's nomination for Moneyball.

I'm a little surprised to see that I only gave this 3.5 Death Stars in my original review.  Upon reflection, this seems like something I would have given 4 Death Stars too, as it was one of my favorite films of the year.

It has a great screenplay from Diablo Cody and I think Jason Reitman is one of my new favorite directors.  I highly recommend this as a rental if you like darker comedies.  I plan on buying this soon.


I don't know why, but this review has more hits than any other post I've made.  I'm not sure why, as I bet most people have never even heard of this movie.

Anyway, this is one of those movies that you could categorize as a good movie that you'll never want to watch again.  You can pretty much say that about any Lars von Trier movie though.  It's a well-acted, quasi-sci-fi movie about a woman's struggle with depression.  That alone might turn most off from seeing it.  It's well over two hours long, so I can see why many would not be interested in it or not be able to get though it.

It does feature Kirsten Dunst's best performance as an actor, and as I have pointed out, her first nude scene.  Oh, maybe that's why the old review has so many hits.  People searching for 'Kirsten Dunst nude'.  Oh man...

I did give this a Death Star rating as this was done before I started that system, so I'd probably give this 3.5 Death Stars.  I say it's worth a rental, but again, it's definitely not for everyone.

The Descendants

This is an easy movie to recommend, as this was one of my top five favorite films of 2011.  With all the Golden Globe and Oscar nominations, I'm sure most of you have heard of this by now or have watched it.

I can't recommend it enough though.  I called it 'an almost perfect movie' in my original review.  I might have been on a little bit of a 'movie high' when I wrote that, but I still feel very strongly about how much I loved it and this is another one I'll be adding to my movie collection soon.

This is another one I reviewed before I started giving Death Stars.  I bet I would have given this 5 Death Stars back then.  I'll stand by that.  I strongly recommend that you rent it.

The Three Musketeers

I hate to end on a bad note, but that's just the way it worked out this week.  I called this movie a mess in my original review and recall almost walking out after 15-20 minutes.  I eventually kind of warmed up to it and I thought it had some okay action sequences, but it's not terribly interesting.  If this has been something I rented instead of seeing it in the theater, I might have liked it a little more.

It's directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, who I still think is a hack director that is basically a slight upgrade from Uwe Boll.  Anderson manages to get bigger budgets and he's married Milla Jovovich, so that usually means he'll crowbar her in the movie somewhere.

If you're up for a dumb, popcorn flick, then this wouldn't be a bad rental on a rainy day.  Just don't expect too much from it.

1.5 Death Stars

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