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Ant-Man quick movie review

Marvel’s Ant-Man is the latest installment (by my count, this is the 11th movie in the franchise) in their Cinematic Universe and is currently soaking up all of the box office money.  Isn’t it amazing that Marvel has just released a movie starring one of its lesser known protagonists and yet it’s still debatable whether or not DC Comics can even get their franchise off the ground?  I digress… frankly, Ant-Man is business as usual (more than usual, actually), but that doesn’t mean it’s not good fun.  Read the rest of this entry

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy quick movie review

It may be safe to say that Dr. Girlfriend and I were the last two folks in American to settle down and watch Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and frankly, I don’t think either of us have much to say about it. I think I liked it a bit more than she did, but it’s safe to say that neither of us think it’s the comedy classic that it’s made out to be.

Let’s see, what did we learn? Well, now we know why "I’m kind of a big deal" shows up on t-shirts. The movie is totally watchable, but it feels a bit underwritten and the pace is a bit too slow for me – most of the first act feels like bumbling from one thing to the next with little structure. I enjoyed Will Ferrell; he’s great, as always, but there’s only so much one man can do. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the movie as much if I wasn’t a fan of Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Christina Applegate and the totally underutilized Steve Carell, I enjoyed the jazz flute scene… I loved the ending – the dog vs bear negotiation is one of the best out of left field endings I’ve seen in a long while.

I’m not sorry we watched it, but I can’t help feeling that Anchorman is shockingly overrated. I’m giving it a 7 out of 10; it’s got some laughs, but I don’t think I need to see it again.

This is the End (movie review)

this-is-the-endIf you were singing any of the lyrics from The Doors classic, “The End,” which simply begins, “This is the end,” the title of today’s film, you may want to center on one particular line, “Can you picture what will be?” If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you can try to imagine what imagery you’ll see in this flick, but don’t bother – just go see it.

This is the End features tons of laughs, a bang or two that made the audience jump and just a fun time at the movies over all. It’s raunchy, raw and in many ways, a by the numbers story from a premise I don’t think I’ve ever seen in any medium, but it’s truly a flick that is worth the price of admission..

This now ends the spoiler free portion of the review. I’ll give you the score now: This is the End receives an 8 out of 10 for reasons I won’t explain in the spoiler free review. Read on for additional discussion! Read the rest of this entry

Role Models (quick movie review)

role_modelsI can’t remember the last time I was as pleasantly surprised as I was when I saw Role Models.  The trailer didn’t really inspire me, and I think we only saw the flick because Paul Rudd was in it, but it’s a comedy gem.  (And it features two cast members from Party Down, which always makes me happy!)  This movie might need its mouth washed out with soap and is a little bit too long, but it’s funny as hell.  I highly recommend it and give Role Models a 9 out of 10.

This is 40 (quick movie review)

According to Rotten Tomatoes, only 50% of movie critics liked this This is 40, and I don’t think that’s a fair assessment.

But, in an effort to be fair with film reviewers, the movie does have problems, and I can see how they would take off for the following: Read the rest of this entry

Our Idiot Brother movie review

SCORE: 3.3 out of 5


Is that dog photoshopped in?

Paul Rudd is one of those actors that can do his thing in any movie and I’ll clap. I guess that’s what people mean when they say someone is likable; I just like watching him act. So, if you don’t feel that way about Rudd and the cavalcade of costars (Elizabeth Banks, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan), then you might want to steer clear of Our Idiot Brother.

It’s not to say that this movie doesn’t have any redeemable or enjoyable qualities, but frankly, the characters are idiots – perhaps with the exception of the titular character. Paul Rudd doesn’t play an idiot but instead an optimistic, honest and uncompromising character who, to drop a cliche, marches to the beat of his own drummer. Now none of these characters are children; they know exactly who Rudd’s character is and how he lives his life, so it turns out that it’s his sisters that are the idiots for giving him information that could blow up in their faces! What a twist! I just don’t understand how so many characters can make such easily avoidable mistakes or how other characters can have no motivation to back up their behavior (Paul Rudd’s ex-girlfriend) or how other character’s plot threads can be so easily forgotten and never followed up on (Steve Coogan and Hugh Dancy).

Still, the movie has plenty of jokes and excellent performances – not to mention a never ending parade of my favorite talent, beautiful women (Rashida Jones, Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks) and Emily Mortimer, who is beautiful in her own right, but even in a more serious role, I can’t help but think of her on 30 Rock. (“Careful… my bones!”)

If you’re up for a few laughs, Our Idiot Brother is worth a look. Besides, this movie has a dog! A golden retriever, no less! They could have worked the dog into the movie more, but I guess I can’t have things my way all the time.

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Attention Must Be Paid: Party Down

If you’re new to the Attention Must Be Paid (AMBP) feature, here’s the deal:  when I run across something that I think is great and isn’t getting the props it deserves, I write it up in this space.

For two glorious seasons and 20 hilarious episodes, Party Down brought a jaded bit of humanity to the service industry.  OK, I’m fawning – but the show is awesome!  Read the rest of this entry

Dinner for Schmucks movie review

NOTE:  My Dinner for Schmucks movie review contains spoilers.

Dinner for Schmucks is a remake of a French film of the same name – or so I’ve read.  While the American version has a soft side to it, my understanding is that the French version is brutal.  Paul Rudd stares as Tim, who is trapped in middle management but sees an opportunity to move up, but playing with the big guys upstairs means going to a dinner.  For schmucks.  Oh, and its BYOS, by the way.

It’s not that simple – and Ron Livingston is in this movie, who I’m a big fan of; but he’s not in it that much…  Anyway, Tim meats Barry, portrayed by Steve Carell, while he’s driving and texting and hits Barry with his car.  Good message for the kids:  don’t text and drive.  I like a little message with my silly comedy.

If you didn’t see it coming, Barry quickly reeks havoc on Tim’s life by instant messaging with his ex Darla (Lucy Punch) and inviting her over (which leads to a ridiculous sequence of Barry and Darla chasing each other around Tim’s apartment and destroying it in the processes) and then mistaking his current girlfriend Julie (Stephanie Szostak) for his ex, and essentially ruining their relationship and Tim’s business lunch set for the following afternoon, which leads to additional hilarious circumstances.  OK, not really.  But when crazy ex girlfriend Darla (posing as current girlfriend as per Barry’s instructions) hands Tim a napkin that reads, “I’m wet,” at the the table, I had to laugh.  That was good stuff.

In the middle of all this is Tim’s insecurity about Julie’s relationship with her crazy and famous client, Kieran (Jemaine Clement), which is completely groundless and impossible to take seriously.  It just makes Tim look crazy, which doesn’t fit with his character.  He’s constantly trying to do the right thing and have it all at the same time, not be crazy… I guess you could argue that this is making him crazy, but he’s jealous of Kieran from the start, despite that he’s clearly a freak and Julie isn’t interested in him.  At all.  Kieran is a less interesting, less funny version of Russell Brand‘s hilarious Aldous Snow of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek fame.  Tim’s conflict with Kieran is similar to Barry’s conflict with Therman (Zach Galifianakis, who I’m already sick of – he has a beard, I get it; I liked him better when he was conducting his all ex girlfriend choir), except their conflict is not imaginary as Barry’s wife left him for Therman.

The climax of the movie is, of course, the BYOS dinner, which also features the final showdown between Barry and Therman, which is mildly amusing…  the blind fencer was pretty funny.  He also enjoys painting.  Someone asked him, “Are you any good?” and he answered, “I don’t know.”  That was also good stuff.  But for a scene you wait the entire movie for, it’s not that great.

There are some laughs in here, and the movie doesn’t drag.  The cast delivers fine performances, but there just isn’t much to work with here.  Paul Rudd, as always, does a great job of making you care about his character, but we’ve seen this sort of movie before; we know it’ll be OK in the end, and we never get a sense that it won’t be, which the second act is lacking.

The Take Away: I’m not sorry I saw this movie, but I wouldn’t watch it again.

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