I’m just going to assume you’ve already seen this movie, so I’m not going to hold any details back – so if you read on, I’m not only going to ruin A Perfect Murder for you (well, probably not anymore than the trailer already does), but also Dial M for Murder.
Having seen two buddy movies of the cop variety within a few days of each other, I can’t help but compare and contrast Cop Out and The Other Guys – it’s time for a Buddy Cop Movie Smack Down!
The IMDB description of The Other Guys reads, in part: “Two mismatched New York City detectives seize an opportunity to step up like the city’s top cops whom they idolize — only things don’t quite go as planned.” I take exception to that; I didn’t find Will Ferrell or Mark Wahlberg to be especially mismatched. Both characters were extremely weird – going into the film, you expected Ferrell to be the crazy guy and Wahlberg to be the straight man, but it’s not like that; neither of them play the straight man, they’re both just crazy. While Ferrell’s character tries to control his inner demons by insulating himself from the outside world, Wahlberg’s character just screams at everybody, unable to harness his anger into anything constructive. They play off each other well as actors, but the script never defines their roles – the characters are too similar, despite Wahlberg’s barking and Ferrell’s straight faced insanity; you end up with Wahlberg’s character complaining that he’s stuck with Ferrell’s, while Ferrell’s would be equally justified in voicing similar complaints.
I saw the unrated version and frankly, I think this was just a marketing ploy – it was just a version of the movie that was not rated by the MPAA; there wasn’t anything racy in it; I’m guessing it was longer than the theatrical version, and if that’s the case, watching this version was a mistake, because the movie is just too long… yep, here it is: 107 min rated, 116 min unrated… but even 107 minutes was too long. The movie just isn’t paced well.
Now that’s not to say there aren’t laughs, because there are a ton of great jokes running through the entire film, and with two cameos by Derek Jeter, how can you go wrong? Well, I wouldn’t go as far as to say they got it right, because the movie is a comedy and it’s funny, but I certainly wouldn’t watch it again.
My Rating: 3 out of 5
A few nights later, I saw Cop Out, and given my high expectations by the joining of three of my favorite talents (Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan and Kevin Smith), I wasn’t disappointed. Tracey Morgan sets the tone for the movie right away as he interrogates a criminal with a series of quotes from various movies, much to the delight of his coworkers. This opening sequence, including before the interrogation, during which Morgan’s character gives Willis’ character an anniversary card celebrating their partnership sets up the entire movie: sure, both characters are silly, but Morgan is the executive in charge of insanity in this flick. Willis makes jokes, sure, but he’s the straight man and Morgan is a maniac, running around in a cell phone costume and planting a nanny cam in his bedroom to check if his wife is cheating on him. As an added bonus, supporting actors include Kevin Pollak and Guillermo Díaz (he’s Scarface in Half Baked, amongst many other acting credits and just being one of the funniest guys around – in a rare roll here as the bad guy), who bring a level of depth to the movie I did not expect. And just to add a little somethin-somethin, we also get Jason Lee, Rashida Jones and Seann William Scott. Beyond the performances, the script is well crafted and the movie is well paced and edited. And, I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Kevin Smith movie, but the flick actually looks pretty good; the camera moves around, there are reveals… stuff I didn’t know David Klein was capable of. There was a weird helicopter shot at the very end of the movie, but whatever. I really liked this movie, and I’ll watch it again, no doubt.
My Rating: 4 out of 5
In my view, Cop Out kicks The Other Guys’ ass, and easily at that. The version I saw of The Other Guys was only 9 minutes longer than Cop Out, yet Cop Out moves so much faster and is just straight up funnier, has better action sequences and overall flow. Sure, The Other Guys is a decent enough movie, but it’s just not in the same class as Cop Out. Who knows, over time, i wouldn’t be surprised if I raise Cop Out’s score a bit; I think I was disappointed Jason Lee wasn’t in the movie more, and that might have held me back a little – so an update to 4.3 or 4.5 could happen as time goes by and I see Cop Out a second or third time.
And that’s what it comes down to – Cop Out is so good, I’d watch it again. I’m not mad I sat through The Other Guys, but I don’t see myself sitting through it for a second time..
I finally saw Academy Award Best Picture contender True Grit, directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. One can’t help but compare this new version of True Grit with the original film, and I don’t think there is much of an argument that the 2010 version is a better film than the 1969 adaptation of the Charles Portis novel, but I have to wonder why the Coen brothers decided to make this movie in the first place. (I would guess the Golden Globes had similar questions; I don’t think it earned a single nomination in any category.)
I don’t have much to say about this movie – again, if you saw the original, it’s an experience one can only have while watching a remake. Sure, it’s not shot for shot like that new version of Psycho, but it was still strange. This time around, we get Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn, and while I love me some John Wayne, it’s not hard to see that Bridges is the superior actor – and that’s pretty much the theme throughout the entire movie; it’s pretty much the same movie as last time around, but the acting is better, the editing and directing is done with more care, the film is grittier. (That’s right, I went there. Delicious pun.) Hailee Steinfeld is better than Kim Darby as Mattie Ross; Matt Damon is infinitely better than Glen Campbell (who straight up can’t act) as La Boeuf… exchange Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper for Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper (well, not exactly – Jeff Corey played Tom Chaney in the original rather than Josh Brolin… but I’m going with an exchange of star power here, not direct roles) and yes, the new cast outshines the old with their performances.
True Grit 2010 is worth seeing if you don’t know the story or haven’t see the original – no, it’s probably still worth seeing. The only reason to see True Grit 1969 is the lush landscapes and ancient film stock – movies just don’t look like that anymore! Now I haven’t seen the original or read the book in over fifteen years, and I’m the sort of person who watches/reads the same thing over and over, and yet, I don’t think there is much in the way of an unsure moment in the entire movie. It’s an old fashioned story, so you know the bad guys are going to lose and the good guys will live, and neither version ever supplies a moment where you think otherwise. It’s not a bad story, it’s just a safe one; True Grit is an old fashioned western, no more, no less. The 2010 ensemble does a great job, but unless you love the western genre, I wouldn’t exactly call it a must see. (It is great to see Barry Pepper in a movie, though.) If it’s still playing in theaters and you have to get your Oscar on, well, go ahead, I guess. Otherwise, I’d wait for DVD.
My Rating: 3.8 out of 5
The King’s Speech comes in at just under two hours, and while I’m giving myself until I finish this writing to decide on a score, I think it will come in just under a perfect ten. Read the rest of this entry
Perhaps it’s not unusual for a movie to go through so many trials and tribulations, but I suppose I don’t usually hear about it. I’ve been hearing rumblings about a Green Hornet movie for years, way back to when Kevin Smith was tied to the project. Finally, a finished product is available for our waking eyes.
If you’ve been paying attention to the criticism surrounding this movie, you’ll notice it’s been pretty mixed. Some people liked the movie while other didn’t, but I haven’t heard too many extreme views where people hated it or heralded it as the best movie of the year. However, The Tomato Meter is currently at 45%, which is pretty low in terms of over all quality.
As for me, I enjoyed this movie. Sure, the re-imagining of Britt Reid was pretty far off the mark from the chore character, but then, the movie is starring Seth Rogen, so if you were expecting a hard hitting action drama… I don’t know what to tell you. That being said, The Green Hornet is a ton of fun, and I laughed out loud on multiple occasions, so that’s about as ringing an endorsement as you’re going to get from me when it comes to action comedy. I was also impressed with the performance by Jay Chou, who I’m not familiar with, but was immediately taken with. Frankly, the guy is a movie star, and he handled his scenes with scene-stealing-grace. I also want to take a moment and say how shocked I was by Cameron Diaz‘s performance – she didn’t giggle and snort like a crazy person at all, but instead, acted like a real person. In fact, I think that’s what worked best about this movie – the characters, for whatever one dimensional failings they may have, also are good at not stepping too far out of the box – at the end of the movie, Seth Rogen’s character has evolved and become a better Green Hornet than he was at the earlier stages of the movie, but its not like he’s doing flips and killing people – in fact, his big fighting evolution scene at the end of the movie is pretty funny because again, Britt Reid isn’t a trained fighter in this take of the Green Hornet, and it shows – which gives the Rogen casting all the more legitimacy, but then, as he has a writing credit, this movie is mostly his project.
I found that pacing worked nicely, but 119 minutes might be a little too long for this sort of action comedy styled drama. If you’ve ever wondered, “How many times can you have guys get hit in the balls in your movie without it ruining the movie?” this is the movie that answers that question! The violence also continued to escalate as the movie went on, and it exceeded the heights I had expected it to reach well before it was over – that’s not necessarily a criticism, and in fact, it’s probably an endorsement; this movie takes a lot more chances than I thought it would.
The Green Hornet is a fun action comedy, and if you’re a Seth Rogen fan, it’s a must see – he gives a great performance that I can’t help but believe, enjoy and never saw coming. If I had to pick one word to summarize this movie with, it would be surprising – and The Green Hornet surprises in a good way.