Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Hangover Part II - Movie Review

The Hangover Part II (R) 101 minutes D+
Been There Done That

Starring  Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Mason Lee, Ken Jeong, Paul Giamatti

The Hangover Part II is basically the same as the original. Except here, the wolfpack is in Bangkok instead of Vegas, there's a monkey instead of a tiger, and there are trannys instead of hookers... voilà! I present to you The Hangover Part II.  

Despite a few laugh-out-loud moments, the film is ridiculously silly, slightly darker and predictable.  It might be worth seeing at your local discount theater in a few weeks, or on DVD if you really loved the first Hangover film.  Otherwise, don't waste your money.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jumping the Broom - Movie Review

Jumping the Broom (PG-13) 108 minutes B-
Bourgeois vs Working Class

Starring Angela Bassett, Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, Loretta Devine, Meagan Good, Tasha Smith, Julie Bowen, Romeo Miller, DeRay Davis, Valarie Pettiford, Mike Epps, and Brian Stokes Mitchell.

Jumping the Broom is a faith-based romantic dramedy that I found very likable, occasionally laugh-out-loud funny and entertaining (there were a couple twists I didn't see coming).  Yet, the film also seemed longer than 108 minutes and at times felt extremely contrived and unfamiliar. 

I'm glad I saw Jumping the Broom, and Paula Patton is always easy on the eyes, but this one didn't linger long after leaving the multiplex.

Recommended for fans of African-American Romantic Comedy/Drama.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bridesmaids - Movie Review

Bridesmaids (R) 125 minutes B+
Hold On, Break Free From the Chains

Starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Chris O'Dowd, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jill Clayburgh and Jon Hamm.

When I think of Kristen Wiig I think of her SNL character, "Penelope".  But after seeing Bridesmaids I might start thinking she's the next Tina Fey.  Wiig is terrific in this BFF comedy and it doesn't hurt that she has a whip-smart script and killer co-star in Melissa McCarthy.  As a matter of fact, if the Academy had an award for Best Comedic Performance in a Supporting Role, McCarthy would be a shoo-in.

Bridesmaids centers around Annie (Wiig), a down-on-her-luck, former bakery shop owner who seems destined to be alone forever.  On the heels of losing her boyfriend, her business and all her money, Annie's longtime friend (Maya Rudolph) announces her engagement.  The news is bittersweet, yet meshing with a rival bridesmaid will prove to be hilariously more bitter than sweet. 

The film is funny and surprisingly sincere.  I, for one, was reminded that you can't get anywhere by sitting around feeling sorry for yourself.  Bridesmaids is the best comedy to hit theaters so far this year and there is already talk of a sequel in 2013. 


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Everything Must Go - Movie Review

Everything Must Go (R) 96 minutes C+
Open Container

Starring Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Laura Dern, Michael Peña and Stephen Root.

If you've the seen the trailer for Everything Must Go then you've seen the funniest parts of this film.  Despite a deadpan Will Ferrell and a dash of humor, this is not a comedy.  The film falls into a genre I like to call "broken man".  Broken man films are usually depressing and strange black dramedies or profoundly dark dramas in which the male protagonist is falling apart and/or experiencing some sort of major life crisis. I'm a fan of this genre and some of my favorite examples include: Leaving Las Vegas, The Weather Man, Sideways, Eyes Wide Shut, The Square, A Single Man, Adaptation, and The Wrestler. 

Everything Must Go is based on a Raymond Carver short story in which Ferrell plays an alcoholic who is having a very bad day.  Upon being fired from his job he goes home to discover his wife has locked him out, discarded all of his belongings on the front lawn, changed the locks, frozen the joint bank account and left.  He spends the next fours days trying to drink himself into oblivion and selling his things.

I like Will Ferrell and I'm always curious about any film he does, yet there's not enough here for him to carry this one on his own.  Every scene with Rebecca Hall is terrific, Laura Dern is good in a cameo role and Christopher Jordan Wallace (son of Faith Evan & Notorious B.I.G) is a functional side kick.  But ultimately this is Ferell's film and his metamorphosis is not quite convincing enough to push me over the hump.   

Personally, I love seeing comedic actors like Ferrell, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, Hugh Grant, etc, portraying dark/serious characters from time to time.  However, if you prefer your funny men funny, skip this one.

For further viewing of serious/semi-serious Will Ferrell see Stranger than Fiction and Melinda Melinda.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sex and Violence (Book Review)

James Patterson & Maxine Paetro - Swimsuit B+
Publication Date: June 2009
This one had me squirming on the edge of my seat throughout. Protagonist Ben Hawkins is a former L.A. cop turned reporter and author. While investigating the murder of a younger supermodel Hawkins gets mixed up with a serial killer and is forced to write the killer's tell-all biography.  Flawed- yes.  Captivating- hell yes!

The ending is a head-scratcher and I admit it threw me for a loop. But when I consider how Patterson and Paetro could have wrapped things up nice and neat, I like the ending even more.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold - Movie Review

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (PG-13) 90 minutes C+
Sell, Sell, Sell

Starring Morgan Spurlock and Ralph Nader

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is the new Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) documentary about marketing and advertising.  Here we follow Spurlock as he attempts to finance this entire film (1.5 million) through product placement.  It's an original idea but one that doesn't teach us anything we didn't already suspect. 

While I enjoyed the film and think that Spurlock is a unique talent, this one was a little spotty, a little cutesy and didn't linger in my mind afterwards.  Not bad, but not as good as I'd hoped.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Tease, A Flirt, Limbs Too Short (Music Review)

First Impression Music Review
Radiohead - The King of Limbs B-
Release Date: March 2011
Listening to The King of Limbs the first couple times reminded me of how I felt when I first heard Radiohead's 2001 album, Amnesiac; initially a little underwhelmed but intrigued by the album's tone.  After repeated listening that album became more than just really cool mood music, it became a staple in my weekly rotation. 

The King of Limbs has better beats, is more soulful and will sound amazing on blast in my subee.  But what it's lacking thus far is the aching beauty of a track like Knives Out and the heartbreak of You and Whose Army (both from Amnesiac).  Perhaps it's unfair to compare the two albums which are almost a decade apart, but oh well, sometimes it's fun to compare things.  

Favorite Tracks- "Lotus Flower", "Separator" and "Morning Mr. Magpie"