The Way, Way Back is one of those indie movies that will probably be remembered for it’s soundtrack rather than it’s content. It’s charming and satisfying, but no one is going to remember this movie existed – it’s predictable, yet enjoyable entertainment. Read the rest of this entry
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.
Whenever you see that Steve Carell is starring in a movie, you have to ask yourself: Which Steve Carell is showing up this time? Will it be the loud, obnoxious one, pissed off that the word is ending a la Michael Scott or The Incredible Burt Wonderstone? No, it’s the quiet, reserved Steve Carell from The 40 Year Old Virgin and Little Miss Sunshine. Hey, I like Steve Carell, but let’s face it – the guy is like one of those old sinks in your grammar school bathroom that have separate facets for hot and cold water. You can either be scorched by the searing lava of the hot tap or face the bitter winter of discontent from the cold tap. (Yeah, the plumber is coming by to do some work today, so plumbing metaphors will be tossed hither and thither or whatever.) Read the rest of this entry
You’ve seen this movie a hundred times – this movie is so ‘by the numbers’ that I’ll just write out the formula for you:
- the protagonist rises up from humble beginnings and achieves success
- the success makes the protagonist a jerk
- the protagonist loses everything: best friend, money, etc
- the protagonist seeks the help of an old mentor and goes back to his roots
- the protagonist reconciles with the friend
- the protagonist and friend team up and achieve victory
- the protagonist gets everything he lost back and more – because he’s a better person and has found true love
See half the movies ever made for examples of the formula in action – and Burt Wonderstone is no exception. Read the rest of this entry
Steve Carell is back as Gru in Despicable Me 2 – the first flick is something of a house favorite at CreativeJamie.com, so we were eagerly anticipating the release of the sequel… as improbable as a sequel seemed. So what’s the deal? Does it live up to the original?
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It’s not as good as The Incredibles, but Despicable Me is still a great film and it certainly makes my list of favorite animated features.
Despicable Me could have easily been a terrible movie, but everyone involved did a great job of taking a concept and pushing it to the limit. The flick doesn’t feature much in the way of story telling, but everything in this movie is just so likable (especially Steve Carell as Gru) that it doesn’t matter. Off hand, I would say that cuteness is not enough to get a movie to where it need to be, but in the case of Despicable Me, I guess that’s not true. The movie has a lot of heart in an… elemental way, I suppose. Even when he’s bad, you still like Gru, and if his reason for his changing feelings toward his adopted daughters is flimsy at best, you won’t care. The characters are that likable and the movie is just that darn funny and cute. So, this isn’t so much a review of Despicable Me as it is a ringing endorsement. Check it out.
Last week, I reviewed the Hope Springs movie trailer (which was, admittedly, a weird thing to do), but this past weekend, we did the deed and actually saw the film. Guess what? The trailer and the movie don’t match. And now that I stop and think about that lack of coherency between trailer and film, I realize that’s probably a good thing… Read the rest of this entry
I can’t think of a crazier idea than making a sequel (or prequel) to a movie where the actor in the title role doesn’t return for the next film in the series. Why would you even make the movie, and who’d want to see a movie like that anyway? Judging by the grosses, nobody.
Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Llyod
This piece of crap stars (and I use that term loosely) Derek Richardson, Eric Christian Olsen and Eugene Levy, during his ill-advised teen comedy phase. This piece of crap cost $19 million, but it brought in over $39 million, so it made money for its investors, but considering the original cost $17 million and made $247,275,104, it’s easy to see how far the apple fell from the tree.
Son of the Mask
See, I didn’t think the first Mask was very good, and this is going back to when I saw it in the theater when I was twelve or whatever. This movie also begs the question, who in the hell would want to see a movie starring Jamie Kennedy and Alan Cumming? Nobody, that’s who. This flaming pile of excrement rang up a total of $84 million and earned only $57 million. The original only cost $23 million and earned $351 million; I guess those animated effects in the first one were much cheaper than the digital effects in the sequel. You can’t feel bad for anybody who lost money on this one; what were they thinking?
Only the most unusual set of circumstances and coincidences brought me to the theater to see Evan Almighty, which wasn’t that bad, actually… except there was no Jim Carey. Not a cameo, no nothing. However, we did get Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, John Goodman, Lauren Graham, Wanda Sykes, John Michael Higgins and Jonah Hill to round out the cast, so not too shabby. It’s watchable, I’ll say that much for it. However, this movie cost a fortune – a ton of digital effects… I don’t know what they were thinking. The movie costs $200 million to make – did they really think they had a chance in heave or hell to make that back? Gross revenue checks in at $173,418,781 – swing and a miss. Meanwhile, Bruce Almighty costed $81 million and earned $484 million.
Ace Ventura Jr.
I can’t find any revenue numbers on this plane laden with rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong because it made its debut on Cartoon Network, during which I sat through five random minutes of the film and almost immediately lost my lunch. Just because a TV show or a movie is made for kids doesn’t mean it has to be the worst thing ever written. You’d assume that this project was aimed at a theatrical release with the idea being that people who saw the original Ace Venture movies would take their kids to see this movie, but it was such a volcanic eruption of manure that they hid the damn thing on Cartoon Network – and that reminds me, the opening sequence of the first Ace Venture features Ace stealing a woman’s dog from her ex boyfriend and returning it to the dog’s owner, who, instead of rewarding him with a cash payment, pleasures him… to hilarious results, I guess.
So what did we learn here? If you’re making a sequel to a Jim Carey movie, you should probably try to your damnedest to retain Jim Carey to star in the movie. If you can’t, it seems like it would be a HUGE MISTAKE to double the budget of the original movie. You end up with a movie that has no star power and a poorly written script that just rehashes a bunch of crap the audience has already seen and probably didn’t think was that great in the first place.
You know, like when Jim Carey made Yes Man, which was an awful lot like Liar, Liar.
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.