This Is the End (2013)


Take Yo Panties Off!

This Is the End (2013)Based on the poster alone, I had no interest in seeing today’s movie.  I liked the people I saw on the poster, but I’ve seen them all in movies that were both great and awful, so the poster alone couldn’t really capture my attention.  But that’s why they make trailers.  When I started seeing the trailers for the movie, my desire to see it took to a sharp incline.  The trailer wasn’t laugh out loud funny, but that could be a good thing in this case.  The trailer should just show the potential for the movie; not spoil the best jokes.  And that’s what this trailer did.  Plus, the premise seemed fantastic.  But Friendboss Josh already had an appointment to see this movie with his girlfriend, the Whitney-Bird.  So we went down to the theaters to catch Man of Steel instead.  But that shit was sold out.  Good thing for me, Friendboss Josh values his friendshipbossship with me more than he values vagina, so we went to see This Is the End, written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and starring Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Jason Segel, David Krumholtz, Paul Rudd, Mindy Kaling, Martin Starr, Channing Tatum, Kevin Hart, Rihanna, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Aziz Ansari.

Jay Baruchel goes to Los Angeles to visit his friend Seth Rogen.  After a celebratory day of smoking weed and playing video games, Rogen suggests that the two of them go to a party at James Franco’s house, but Baruchel doesn’t want to go because he doesn’t know or like anyone at the party and worries about being left alone there.  Sure enough, upon arriving to the party Rogen goes off on his own, leaving Baruchel in uncomfortable conversations with people like Michael Cera, Emma Watson, and Rihanna.  Rogen and Baruchel walk down to a store to pick up some snacks, but their shopping is interrupted when blue beams of light grab some of the shoppers and drag them up to the heavens.  Then the fuckin’ apocalypse happens, instantly killing many of the celebrities at Franco’s party, leaving Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Craig Robinson, and Jonah Hill alone in the house to fend for themselves.  They ration out what little supplies they have and go to sleep for the night.  When they wake up, they find that Danny McBride had crashed the party and fallen asleep in a bathroom upstairs, and had come down and prepared all of their food for breakfast.  How will this group of sheltered celebrities be able to survive the reckoning?

I feel like I won’t have very much to say about this movie.  What I will say is this: this is probably the best comedy I’ve seen in a very long time.  I just can’t think of very many funny things that I could put in a review about something that was keeping me laughing super consistently for the greater majority of the movie.  There was a moment to make me laugh out loud at least once every five minutes.  That’s one hell of a ratio!  I barely ever laugh in movies, so that should tell you just what I think about this movie.  I would say that it could be easily argued that the story was a little underwhelming.  It was mainly just an excuse to get these really funny people into situations they could improvise jokes about.  But a comedy doesn’t really need to blow you away with story.  One of my favorite comedies is Airplane! and that’s really all that movie is.  I’m not going to come back here and write a review about the fact that its story wasn’t spectacular when all it was trying to be was a comedy and it kept me laughing.

The cameos in this movie are crazy.  They have ridiculous celebrities in this movie.  I liked most of those people and was tickled to see them in this, and I even really liked the celebrities that I don’t normally like.  Rihanna had a funny moment with Michael Cera, Channing Tatum had an amazing joke, and even though I don’t like them, the Backstreet Boys reveal was pretty awesome, albeit unnecessary.  Jay Baruchel was a little whiny in the movie, but he was also plenty funny.  Seth Rogen was hilarious.  I did think that it didn’t make sense for people to act like he wouldn’t get into heaven if he used Jesus’ name in vain.  He’s Jewish!  They don’t care about Jesus!  James Franco had plenty of funny moments as well.  I especially liked the story he told about Lindsay Lohan thinking he was Jake Gyllenhaal and him telling her to call him the Prince of Persia.  Danny McBride is always a strange character for me.  He never really plays anyone likeable, but he’s really good at playing that character.  And he made a great joke about Franco being gay.  I would say if there were anything bad to say about the cast of this movie it would be that Emma Watson had too small of a part in the movie.  She was great in the movie, and the parts she was in were pretty hilarious, but I want to look at her at all times, and I also want to have a little resolution to what happened to her.  After she leaves, we never see her again.  I assume there’s no way she could go to heaven because she portrayed a witch in 8 movies, so that’s means she’s for sure Hell bound, but the movie never said for sure.

I really can’t do much in a review of This Is the End.  I cannot add funny to the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time.  This movie was created by a bunch of professionally funny people, and I do this for free.  The story was an interesting idea, but a little simplistic, but who cares because it was mostly there to set up some really funny people being funny.  This movie kept me laughing all the way through, giving me only brief pauses to catch my breath so I wouldn’t die while watching it.  You definitely need to get out to see this movie as soon as you can.  I can’t imagine you’ll regret it.  This Is the End gets “The power of Christ compels you!” out of “I’d be pretty bummed if I don’t at least get a bite of the Milky Way.”

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Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans (2009)


This is Just the Beginning

Further deeper into the Underworld we go, this time arriving at a movie I distinctly remember not liking, so much so that my OCD-like compulsions did not force me to complete the series for my DVD racks.  Everything about the movie would lead one to believe that this movie would be the worst of the three.  Not only was the previous director not on board, but the previous star decided against returning this time around.  They did manage to get someone that could pass for Kate Beckinsale if you didn’t look too hard, but they made her a somewhat secondary character in the movie.  All that being true, my memory is completely shit, so I needed to watch this movie again to be able to make any claims on it’s quality.  Now that I have, let’s see what I thought about Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans, written by Dirk Blackman, Howard McCain, and the wrong Danny McBride, directed by Patrick Tatopoulos, and starring Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, Rhona Mitra, Steven Mackintosh, Kevin Grevioux, and Tania Nolan.

The events of the film happen well before we met Selene, back in the beginning of the war between vampires and werewolves.  Apparently, it all started when a girl who couldn’t act fell in love with a pasty sparklefart of a vampire and a Lycan with sweet abs.  No resolution could be reached and war broke out.  Oh wait, that’s a different movie.  This war is started because the first werewolf, William, has created an army of savage werewolves, unable to return to human form, and the vampires must defend themselves from the onslaught of werewolves.  This movie focuses on Lucian (Michael Sheen), the first werewolf born with the ability to return to human form.  They use Lucian to make other Lycans that can become human and turn them into slave labor, keeping them from turning Lycan with the help of a spiked collar, most of which say “Fido” or “Rex”.  Over time, Lucian begins a secret relationship with the daughter of the vampire elder, Viktor (Bill Nighy), a Beckinsale-esque girl named Sonja (Rhona Mitra).  This sort of relationship is what you might call “frowned upon”.  Adding to the problems they already have, Lucian gets pretty fond of this idea of “freedom”.  Viktor is every bit as keen on this idea as he would be of the idea that his pet is giving the red rocket to his daughter.  If we’ve already watched the other movies, we have a pretty good idea of where this is headed.

It apparently happens at least once in everyone’s lifetime, but I found that I was wrong on this day.  I actually enjoyed Underworld 3, possibly even more than I liked 1 and 2.  It was sort of a mix between things I liked about the first two movies: Underworld had a better story, but was light on action, whereas Underworld 2 didn’t have a great story, but did have more interesting action.  This movie satisfied me on both fronts.  The story was pretty interesting, and the action was good as well.  But I am man enough to admit that I’ve been wrong one time in my lifetime, so there it is.  Much better than I remembered it.  The story seemed to have mashed up elements of better stories.  It had a quasi-Romeo and Juliet, star crossed lovers business in there, it had a quasi-Braveheart fight for freedom thing (minus the antisemitism), and it had a quasi-The Crow revenge for dead loves plot.  Yeah, I could’ve warned against spoilers there, but they totally showed it in the first movie, so fuck off.  The story all worked for me, but it probably did suffer a little bit from the fact that I had just watched Underworld and was just waiting for all the things I knew were going to happen.  It did a great job fitting into the continuity that was laid out in the other films, but it also kind of hurt itself by allowing us to know exactly how the story turned out.  As with many movies, there were parts of the story that never really made sense to me.  The first one was the fact that they wanted these Lycans for their slaves, and to protect them during the day, but they wouldn’t allow them to turn into Lycans and use their real strength.  I understand that they’d be stronger and harder to control then, but why not just enslave humans then?  Why risk it in the first place?  Also, Viktor is given the chance to promote Lucian beyond his station, but turns it down, even though that course of action would clearly make things easier for everyone to deal with.  The biggest problem with the movie was the romantic relationship, but only because it was teetering dangerously close to bestiality.  The action was also very good in this movie, showcasing a good couple of pretty sweet battles between vampires and Lycans.  I especially liked the use of the giant ballistas when they pinned people against walls.

For the most part, any decisions you made about the performances of characters from the previous movies can be transferred over to this movie.  Michael Sheen becomes the star of this movie, and pulls it off very well.  He can do the action scenes, but dude can also act.  The terrible grief Lucian is going through as he watches his lady burn alive is very evident.  Possibly a better performance than this movie had comin’, but whatcha gonna do?  Rhona Mitra throws out the performance you would probably expect in that she doesn’t really impress.  She’s an attractive lady and all, but I couldn’t get over the distinct feeling that there was a good chance she was Steven Tyler.  I don’t have any proof for that … yet.  Bill Nighy’s performance was much better in this movie, not because he’s not a good actor, but the previous movies didn’t really require that much out of him.  He has a great bit of emotion over sentencing his daughter to death that I liked very much.  He’s still too old to really hold his own in the fight scenes though.  I got excited at one part because they had him put on a helmet that covered his face, so I thought he would be able to throw down because he could easily be substituted by a stunt man, but he very quickly removed his armor and jumped into the next scene.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Underworld movie I previously thought to be the worst one was actually probably the best one so far, having a more interesting story and better action than the previous two movies.  Most of the performances were good, and Rhona Mitra was Steven Tyler, but altogether I found the movie to be pretty enjoyable.  I guess I’ll be able to complete the series now, but only if the newest one holds up, and if it comes out with a BluRay tetralogy.  We’ll find out at least one of those things tomorrow, when I review the latest Underworld movie.  For now, Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans gets “You are credit to your race” out of “We are no better than the beasts at our door.”

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Underworld: Evolution (2006)


We Are Oddities of Nature, You and I

Continuing on into the Underworld makes me feel like Hercules or Dante.  Well, not really like Hercules, but I’m totally a poet like Dante.  That’s the facts, right there.  Also, that’s probably the smartest joke I’ll ever go for.  Let’s get back to talking about poop!  Underworld!  Okay, that was harsh.  Underworld turned out to be a pretty good movie, but one I remembered being better.  Unfortunately, I remember them going downhill pretty quickly into the third one, but I have not yet made my impression of the fourth one known.  Let’s see if that recollection still holds true as I review Underworld: Evolution, written again by a different Danny McBride than the one we are all thinking, directed again by Len Wiseman, and starring Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Tony Curran, Derek Jacobi, Brian Steele, Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen, Steven Mackintosh, Shane Brolly, and Zita Gorog.

Way back in the day, the three vampire elders – Viktor (Bill Nighy), Markus (Tony Curran), and Amelia (Zita Gorog) – are trying to track down Markus’ brother, William (Brian Steele), a werewolf who is going around making more Lycans that are savage beasts, unable to return to human form.  They finally capture William and have him imprisoned for all eternity, but Markus is not too cool with his bro-wolf being treated like a bitch.  Back to the now, the events of the last movie have set up Markus to awaken from his slumber, and he promptly kills the shit right out of Kraven (Shane Brolly) who, let’s face it, had that shit coming.  Elsewhere, the vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and the hybrid vamplycan Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman) are driving around, occasionally stopping to fight things and fuck each other.  After killing Viktor, Selene is having memories pop of of when her father built the cage that holds William, so they’re looking for answers about that.  They stop in to see Andreas Tanis (Steven Mackintosh) and later look for the original immortal, father of Markus and William, Alexander Corvinus (Derek Jacobi).  All this time, Markus is also looking to free his brother.  Eventually, these two paths will probably converge.

This one’s probably about on par with the original.  The story takes a bit of a step down, being all about this chase to find some people’s jewelry that opens a sarcophagus restraining a big doggy.  It may even border on confusing, since everyone’s looking for the same necklace/ribcage bling (you’ll have to watch the movie to get that) and Selene barely knows what’s going on until her memories come back.  It’s constantly cutting back and forth between Markus and Selene to see what they were doing and I may have gotten confused, which may have not happened if I were paying more attention but, hey, that’s their fault.  Make a more interesting movie next time!  The action was a decent step up at times in this movie though.  There were a couple of solid fights and action scenes, and people actually tended to hit what they were aiming at.  I had a couple of issues with the climactic final fight of the movie though.  And, because it’s the final fight, I suppose there may be ::SPOILERS::  The fight is basically Michael and Serene versus William and Markus.  First off, Michael remains completely ineffectual, even though he’s the super hybrid.  I know he has no fight training or anything, but he basically just gets his ass kicked a lot.  He is the one that finally kills William by ripping his upper jaw off, and that was pretty badass, but I don’t know how much credit you can give him for beating William.  William is the super powerful first of all Lycans, but his strategy in this fight is to do a lot of standing in one place howling as he’s getting tons of bullets emptied into him.  Markus shows himself to be a pretty big badass by pulling a helicopter out of the air by the cable it has draped into the arena, and then goes to fight Serene.  They fight on a bridge with the still spinning blades of the helicopter right next to it.  Knowing that Serene is the heroine of this movie, you will never expect how their fight – stationed immediately next to spinning helicopter blades, mind you – will end.  It may shock you to find that he is knocked into the spinning helicopter blades.  Sure, you see it coming from a mile away, but it was pretty sweet.  ::END SPOILERS::  The look of this movie also improves a little.  The most notable improvement is that a pair of tits makes it’s way onto this movie.  Unfortunately, they aren’t Beckinsale’s.  Other than that, the Lycans are a little more convincing, and the amount of fake blood is probably doubled for this movie.

The performances were mostly by the same actors, so you can be assured that the performances have not changed drastically from the first movie.  Kate Beckinsale still looks good in them skintight suits, having decided against splurging on Haagen Dazs with her check from the first movie.  I thought it was strange that she kind of acted a little trepidatious about getting her freak on with Speedman, even though they had already had some good make out sessions.  I guess there’s a chance she was a virgin, though, so she might’ve been hesitant to give that up.  Everyone acted like the 40 year old virgin was so sad, but Selene could have been the 121 year old virgin for all we know.  Scott Speedman continued to not impress me.  I wanted this hybrid to be awesome, but he really never does anything impressive.  The most impressive thing about him is that he is constantly coming back from situations that should have killed him.  So can cockroaches, and I don’t call them badasses either.  Get your shit together, hybrid!  Tony Curran is the new, big baddie for this movie, and most of the time he’s pretty good and intimidating.  Derek Jacobi was also pretty good as Alexander Corvinus, but neither of them really gave me anything much to talk about.

Underworld: Evolution manages to not drive the series down.  If you liked Underworld, you’re probably down with this one too.  I probably appreciated this movie a little more because, though the story that never interested me too much stepped down a bit, the action that I liked amped up slightly.  It also looked much better, having probably benefited from the success of the first movie.  I own this movie on DVD, just as I do the first one, and I think it’s definitely worth a watch.  Problematically, I remember disliking the third movie in this series, so much so that I actually never purchased it on DVD, even with my OCD-like need to complete series in my DVD collection, and that one is up next.  We’ll find out how that one goes tomorrow, but for now Underworld: Evolution gets “You depend on blood” out of “You are unwelcome in my presence.”

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Underworld (2003)


A Full-Grown Man Bit You?

I recently found myself on a trip from work, and mostly superbly bored.  Thankfully, there was a movie theater within walking distance of the hotel I was staying at.  I was saved!  During the course of this week, I managed to fit in two movies.  Today’s movie is not one of them.  Now, before you go crazy about that long introduction to nothing, it does relate to today’s movie.  The movie I saw in the theater was the fourth part of this series.  But, before I reviewed the newest one, I felt like I needed to review the previous three.  Today, we get started with the movie Underworld, written by Danny McBride (not THAT Danny McBride) and Kevin Grevioux, directed by Len Wiseman, and starring Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly, Erwin Leder, Sophia Myles, Kevin Grevioux, Zita Gorog, and Wentworth Miller.

As we all know, vampires and werewolves do not get along.  We join this fray as two of the vampire’s elite soldiers, the Death Dealers, are tracking a group of werewolves, here called Lycans, who are themselves tracking a guy named Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman).  This situation devolves into a fight between the Death Dealers and the Lycans, and only the Death Dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale), the Lycan Raze (Kevin Grevioux), and Corvin walk away in tact.  Selene determines that the Lycans were hunting Corvin, but doesn’t know why.  I’ll tell you, Selene!  It’s because their leader, Lucian (Michael Sheen), is trying to create a hybrid of the vampires and the Lycans, and Michael Corvin is the last remaining descendant of the original immortal, Alexander Corvinus, and the only one likely to survive taking on the vampire and Lycan diseases simultaneously.  Selene is also not having fun times at home because Kraven (Shane Brolly), the guy currently running the household, is trying to tap that and she’s having none of it.  She wants to wake up her father-figure, Viktor (Bill Nighy), to help her fix a few issues, like the Michael situation and the fact that only Kraven asked her to the prom, and he’s so totally lame.

I remembered this movie being better than it turned out to be.  After having just recently watched the fourth movie, I expected this movie to be heavy on the action and light on the story, but this movie felt a little like the opposite.  The story is pretty good and interesting, but it definitely could’ve used more action, in my opinion.  The story is vaguely a mystery, but it’s never really kept all that mysterious to the audience.  We pretty much know what’s going down.  The characters in the movie remain oblivious to it much longer.  After that, it’s not a whole lot more than your average vampire/werewolf movie.  But, in a world where vampires go into the sunlight and become gay sparklefarts, this movie gets a little more love from me.  There were a couple of good lines in the movie as well, like when Michael was asking Selene what they do with the bullets after they interrogate the Lycans and she said “We put the bullets back in.”  They also did a good job hiding the big betrayal at the end of the movie.  But, on this watching, I found myself a little let down by the amount of action.  It was mostly cool and stylized when it happened, but it was pretty spread out here.  They probably assumed their story was a lot more compelling than I actually found it, but they should’ve given us a little more, and probably a little better action.  First of all, these bitches in this movie couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from three feet away.  98% of the bullets fired in this movie hit everything around their mark, but never the mark itself.  The only time I can presently remember anyone hitting what they aimed for was when Selene decided the best method for retreating was to point her guns at the ground and spin in a circle, effectively cutting a hole in the ground for her to fall through and then run off.  And speaking of falling: the director apparently loves to watch Beckinsale drop from high places.  We watch her jump from high locations and drop lightly to the ground about 10 times in this movie.  It’s not particularly interesting visually, so I’m not sure why I was watching it so much.  It seemed like the director was thinking that we may have forgotten that she was a vampire, so they better do something that other people couldn’t, like drop from 6 stories up and walk it off.  But I was with you, Wiseman, you don’t have to keep showing gravity’s money shots all the time.  The werewolves in the movie could’ve looked better, most of them being fairly reminiscent of Tokka from the second Ninja Turtles movie.  Sometimes they were entirely CG, but not all that convincing.  Other times they were kind of animatronic but they didn’t move very fluidly.  The vampires had a much easier day in the makeup chair, just having to be pasty white and wear a pair of contacts.  It also occurred to me during this movie that wearing vampire teeth apparently gives most people what I called “kissy face”, but I don’t feel like defining what I mean by that.  YOU FIGURE IT OUT!  Their transformation is also nowhere near as impressive.  The transformations of the Lycans, from humans to werewolves, was actually pretty well done.  Their bones shift in a way that makes your skin crawl, and they pop out hair as if they were Ron Jeremy or something.  The vampires?  Their teeth get a little longer and they hiss at people a lot.  I did like the whole process involved with waking Viktor up, involving an elaborate mechanism to bring his coffin out of storage, then the blood has to be focused or else his performance when he wakes up will be really quirky, and then you attach some blood bags to his back for a couple of hours.

The performances in this movie were surprisingly solid.  Kate Beckinsale’s main goal in this movie seemed to be to wear skin tight leather and be ridiculously hot, and she knocks that part right the hell out of the park.  She also acted the part really well.  But at one point Kraven slaps her and, though she does that typical thing where she just looks right back at him defiantly, it made me wonder why the fuck this bad ass Death Dealer would let some asshole she hates already slap her in the face.  There was one weird scene where she, I guess, just took a shower and wrote the name “Viktor” in the fog on the mirror, then wiped it off.  I have no idea why this happened at all.  Thanks for wasting a minute of my life, movie!  Scott Speedman didn’t really do anything for me in this movie.  I was neither for nor against him.  I was hoping there would be a little more awesomeness out of him when he turned hybrid, but he was actually fairly ineffectual.  When he finally turns into a hybrid, his first big movie is to shove Bill Nighy like they were fifth graders on a schoolyard.  Granted, that shove put him through a wall and down a story or two, but it was a shove nonetheless.  Speaking of Bill Nighy, his quirky performance really works for the character here.  He was supposed to have fragmented memories, so his little weird mannerisms worked really well for it.  He was pretty bad in the fight scenes though.  He’s an old man, so I can’t blame him, but they maybe should’ve gone stunt double a little more than they did.  The first time I had seen this movie, I had no idea who Michael Sheen was, so I didn’t think much of him.  But having added Tron: Evolution and 30 Rock to my memories, I paid a lot more attention.  And he was really good.  He’s actually a funny, charming guy from what I’ve seen in interviews, but he can be a badass if he wants.  Shane Brolly is a very unlikeable character, but that’s what he’s going for.  It did bother me that he had this hot chick hounding after his nuts for probably centuries, but didn’t really catch on until the events of this movie.  That begs the question: How many Kravens does it take to screw in a hot blonde?  14, of course.

I remembered Underworld being much more awesome than it turned out being, but it was still enjoyable.  The story was good, but nothing really special.  The action was okay when it happened, but it should have happened much more.  And the look was pretty good, but they probably didn’t have very much money for special effects at this point.  We’ll see if that improves for the next movie.  But, for now, I still think Underworld is worth a watch.  I own it on DVD, and I don’t feel very bad about that.  So check it out if you haven’t already.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll be saying that the fourth Underworld is awesome, but you really need to catch up on the story to understand it.  Either way, Underworld gets “I want to stay with you…” out of “Your incompetence is becoming most … taxing.”

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30 Minutes or Less (2011)


I’m Holding the Bomb

When I noticed this very day that today’s movie was available at a RedBox near me, I decided I needed to see it. Not because I expected it to be good, but because it was a movie and I watch those. I had heard vaguely good things about this comedy, but mostly from people whose opinions I do not value when it comes to the quality of movies. So going into this movie, I had no strong opinions either way. Let’s see if I was right! This movie is 30 Minutes or Less, written by Michael Diliberti, directed by Ruben Fleischer, and starring Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, Fred Ward, Bianca Kajlich, Michael Pena, and Dilshad Vadsaria.

Because I went into this movie with this knowledge, I’m going to share it with you because it may have skewed my opinion of the movie itself. A very similar incident to what happened in this movie actually happened in real life, with less comedy and more actual person dying. A pizza delivery guy named Brian Wells actually had an explosive device strapped to him and he was made to rob a bank in 2003. The police captured him, but the bomb went off and killed him before the bomb squad could arrive. Also, everyone involved in this movie (from what I’ve read) acted like they had no knowledge of this incident before the movie and it was just coincidence that a pizza delivery guy has an explosive device strapped to him and he was made to rob a bank in their movie. Personally, I find myself a bit skeptical that they had no knowledge of it. I grant that I didn’t know about that incident myself, but I also didn’t write a movie that was exactly like it. Let’s see how a guy’s death becomes a comedy in this movie though.

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a pizza delivery guy. He and friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari) get into a big fight one day because Nick slept with Chet’s twin sister, Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria). Elsewhere in the same town, two guys are shooting at watermelons with a crossbow. One of them, Travis (Nick Swardson), straps mini-bombs to the watermelons for added amusement. I’m sure his internet-taught abilities to make bombs will never come up again. The other guy, Dwayne (Danny McBride), is fed up with living with his domineering, rich father who is called Major (Fred Ward). To forget their sorrows, Travis and Dwayne go to a strip club to see them some titties. Dwayne confides his story to one of the strippers, Juicy (Bianca Kajlich), who convinces Dwayne to give her $100,000 dollars to hire an assassin to kill his dad. Their big plan to get the money (which probably came from some news story, or maybe people around the world are actually getting this idea around the same time) is to get a pizza delivery boy, strap a bomb to him, and get him to rob a bank. Nick is their unlucky victim. Nick recruits Chet to help him and the two attempt to get the money in time to save Nick’s life.

I’ve made it fairly clear that I am extremely dubious that the filmmakers were completely unaware of the Brian Wells situation. What I haven’t made clear is that I would totally accept a comedy based on an unfortunate situation if it were funny enough. The biggest problem with this movie is that it’s not funny. In some situations in this movie, I wasn’t even sure what was supposed to be funny. Jesse Eisenberg makes a Facebook comment that I assume was intended to be funny at one point, but I didn’t press the “like” button on that one. The rest of them I saw were trying to be funny, they just weren’t. The next paragraph will give you my thoughts on why most of the comedy was lost on me, but for the most part, I blame the writers. I assume there was some improv to be had in this movie, but I would say the majority of the failed comedy would be the fault of the writers. A lot of things in this movie just didn’t make sense on a story level either. This would be easily forgiven were the movie funny. There were perhaps plot holes in Hot Tub Time Machine, but you don’t see a comedy for it’s story, you see it for it’s comedy. Since I wasn’t wasting my time laughing in this movie, I paid more attention to the story. First, it’s not a funny situation. Perhaps the fact that this kind of thing happened in real life made the situation too real, but it’s a situation better suited for a drama or an action movie. I don’t see the humor in life threatening situations. Or, perhaps I just didn’t see it in this movie. Jesse and Aziz spend a lot of time fucking around before they go to rob the bank, especially for a guy wearing a bomb and a guy sitting next to a guy wearing a bomb. They go shopping, go get food, go see Jesse’s girlfriend, and Jesse tells off his boss before they decide to work on getting the bomb off by robbing the bank. Then it takes them all of 5 minutes to knock that part out and escape the cops before going back to fucking around. Aziz also feels pretty comfortable making jokes about his friend who MAY be having a bit of a bad day. Another thing that bothered me is that these guys robbed the bank with plastic guns. They get the REAL gun away from the security guard at the bank, and later encounter yet another real gun, but neither of them ever think that they might be able to make use of a real gun and never pick these guns up. One of the big problems of the movie was the amount of money everyone was after. I’m not rich by a long shot, but $100,000 is not THAT much. You DID rob a bank, guys. You could’ve gotten away with more than that. The biggest problem with this movie BY FAR is that Michael Pena’s character makes a joke about the Konami code, calling it the Contra code, and reciting it as something like Up, Down, Up, Down, Select, Start. That’s bullshit, guys! The Konami code is Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start! You completely lost me at that point in the movie. And also when you didn’t do anything funny.

If I were to put this movie’s cast in order of comedic value in the movie, it would read as: Nick Swardson, Michael Pena, the end. But let’s go in order. Jesse Eisenberg doesn’t do anything comical that I can recall in this movie, but I was impressed to see that – once he got the bomb on – his performance was pretty great. He acted like Jesse Eisenberg for the first part of the movie, but when the bomb got on, he was frantic and scared. Danny McBride is really starting to bum me out. This will sound familiar to you if you’ve read all of my reviews, but “Danny McBride plays the same character Danny McBride always plays”. I need to copy that and paste it into future McBride movies. Again, this didn’t used to be a bad thing, but the last time he was funny in a movie was Tropic Thunder. I hope he can get into better movies in the future, otherwise he’s going to lose all appeal for me. I love Nick Swardson. Nick Swardson is a very strange case because he’s a hilarious guy who is usually only in awful movies, but he’s usually the funniest part. I haven’t seen Bucky Larson yet, so his ratio is still pretty good. He’s probably the funniest character in this movie, but even he doesn’t get me to laugh here. Another strange thing about the people in this movie is that people find Aziz Ansari funny. I’m not saying they’re wrong, I’m just saying that I disagree. I find Aziz to be aggressively unfunny. I’ve seen him in a couple movies, I’ve seen him in a TV show, I’ve just never seen him do something funny. Michael Pena was a strange character. He looked like a classic gangbanger, but had a really quirky quality to him that I found vaguely amusing. Just not enough to be funny with the words coming out of his mouth. On a positive note, Dilshad Vadsaria is hot.

I had heard good things about this movie, but it failed to deliver in my opinion. That being the case, I cannot personally recommend you see this movie, but I can say you can find it on RedBox so you can watch it on the cheap and form your own opinions. To me, this movie had a story not suited for comedy, which worked out for it because it also wasn’t funny. So, 30 Minutes or Less gets “Sometimes fate pulls out its big ol’ cock and slaps you right in the face” out of “Fucking victory tacos”.

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Hot Rod (2007)


The Movie Brave Enough to be Viciously Unfunny

This movie definitely came as a punishment for having the gall to do something creative and productive. My involvement with this movie started when my friend Robert reported to his brother Phil and the rest of my group that this movie was the funniest movie ever. He talked it up so much that my group met up to watch this movie. We were almost the only people in the theater, but it had been out for a bit so we didn’t think that was unusual. What we did think was unusual was the fact that we wanted to kill ourselves while watching it. Bring us up into the present and the first movie requested by one of my best friends, Phil, is this movie again. It makes me wonder if he thinks he’s in my will or something. Well, enough pussyfooting around the issue. This movie is Hot Rod, directed by Akiva Schaffer and starring Andy Samberg, Isla Fisher, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Jorma Taccone, Ian McShane, Sissy Spacek, Will Arnett, and Chris Parnell.

Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) has tried to emulate his deceased father for his entire life by trying to be a stuntman. Problem is, he sucks at it. Every time he tries to jump something he crashes and injures himself. It’s partially due to his stupidity, but one could also blame his ramp builder Rico (Danny McBride) for his shoddy craftsmanship. Rod lives at home with his mom (Sissy Spacek) and his stepfather (Ian McShane), as well as his little half brother/team manager Kevin (Jorma Taccone). For nearly inexplicable reasons, Rod is constantly trying to beat his stepfather in a fist fight, but is never able. His stepfather has apparently had a heart condition for a long time and it is revealed to Rod that his step father doesn’t have long to live. Unless, of course, he’s able to accomplish the highly unlikely task of raising $50,000 for his heart transplant. A good portion of the rest of the movie is basically a really long montage of Rod preparing for a gigantic jump to make the money. There’s also a pretty typical love interest thing in there between Rod and Denise (Isla Fisher), but she has a boyfriend (Will Arnett). Kevin makes a video of Rod crashing a lot that makes Rod doubt his abilities, but also makes people interested in watching him jump. His team convinces him to go through with the jump, an AM radio station sponsor’s it, he fails the jump but makes the money, and gets Denise. At the end, he finally beats his stepfather in combat.

Expectations are a really important thing when it comes to movies. If you go in to see a move you’ve heard is awful and it turns out to be mediocre, you come out pleasantly surprised with positive memories in your brain. If you’ve heard that a movie is hilarious and you spend the entire movie waiting for a time when you will laugh, you will want to kill yourself. The best thing I can say about Hot Rod is that, this time, I went in knowing it was awful so it was nowhere near as painful as it was the first time. Is it good? Hell no! Is it funny? Not even remotely. But, I didn’t kill myself. Sometimes, that’s all you can ask for.

Let’s talk story and laughs. …Okay, there aren’t any. The story is pretty typical and one I’m sure we’ve all seen in better movies before. Someone needs an operation that costs a certain amount of money, something comes along that will pay exactly the amount needed, everything works out. Also you have love interest, problem, resolution. And, just for good measure, throw in some of the old “guy with a passion for something, doubts himself, begins to believe in himself again”. All very typical. What could set that apart in a comedy is some good laughs. Should’ve told them that before they made the movie, I guess. The jokes in this movie span from trying to be funny but failing to epically unfunny. The greater majority of their jokes are slapstick jokes of people falling down a hill for about 5 minutes or so. This came right after – and subsequently ruined – one of the closest parts in the movie to amusing, when Rod gets angry and has to go to the woods to dance it out, doing a parody of Footloose. This is cute for a while, then they ruin it with slapstick humor again. And, if they’re not that, they’re strange jokes that I’m sure someone thought was humorous when they were writing it, but I just found pointless and annoying. Examples of this is when Rod rang a bell and they went around their group trying to imitate the tone with their voice. …Funny, right? Or how about when Rod and Frank were reconciling after a fight and they ended it with “Cool beans”, and then took that and cut it up so they were almost making a rap out of cool beans. I can’t really explain it, and I don’t want to. Rod also tends to be unable to keep his thoughts in his head and so he says most of them out loud. Also, for some reason, he tries to call upon the spirit of random animals before he attempts a jump. There was also a joke about the pronunciation of “whiskey” and “what” in the movie that you may remember from an episode of Family Guy when Stewie over-pronounces the “h” in Cool Whip. And yes, I did do the research. That episode of Family Guy came out a year before this movie. It was in the episode Barely Legal from 2006. I’m not saying that the makers of Hot Rod are unfunny people that copied Family Guy, I’m just saying they’re unfunny.

I feel like I can describe my thoughts about the performances in this movie in once sentence: “I normally like *blank*, but they did nothing to elevate this movie above crap.” That will pretty much cover it. Andy Samberg’s crew all have roughly the same cocky idiot persona in the movie. Danny McBride plays every other Danny McBride character minus the funny things to say, though he is probably the one that comes the closest to being funny. Isla Fisher does a fine job, but I admittedly mostly liked her because she’s cute. She pretty obviously wants Rod (pun intended), but he’d rather ruin it for most of the movie by being a cocky idiot. Will Arnett’s performance was interesting because he seemed to be the one person in the movie who realized the events of the movie were stupid and unfunny, so I was able to relate to him. Sissy Spacek was the mother in this movie, and the performance she put on when she had to confess to Rod that his father wasn’t actually a daredevil was way too good for this movie.

Beyond the somewhat enjoyable, 80’s rock soundtrack, there’s nothing in this movie that makes it worth watching. It takes a bunch of overused premises and mixes them in to a bunch of stupid slapstick jokes and non sequitars. I like almost every person that acted in this movie, but the movie was so bad that this didn’t matter. If you think America’s Funniest Home Videos is the funniest thing on television (as long as you think that solely because of the videos of people getting hit in the groin), then this may be a movie you’ll enjoy. Everyone else, I wouldn’t bother. And I would just like to say that you are all welcome for me lowering your expectations about this movie so you don’t have the same problem my friends and I had. I give Hot Rod “I said you look shitty” out of “I owe you a shot in the nuts.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Your Highness (2011)


Am I the only one that gets really excited to see a movie they don’t expect very much from? Probably, I guess. Either way, I had been counting down the days until Your Highness came to RedBox. I had watched it released on DVD about 3 weeks back but, being new to RedBox, I was unaware that some movies don’t release to RedBox the same day they come out. Your Highness was such a movie. So I went to RedBox’s website and found out when they’d release it, and Tuesday was that day. So let’s jump in to my review of Your Highness, starring Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, and Justin Theroux.

Thadeous (Danny McBride) is a ne’er-do-well prince and brother of the future king Fabious (James Franco). Thadeous is an awful prince. He’s more likely to be angering tribes of dwarfs and smoking weed with goblins than anything positive. His brother returns from one of many heroic quests he has been on, but this time he returns with a beautiful maiden he rescued from a tower and an evil wizard. Turns out Fabious has fallen in love with this maiden, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), and has decided to marry her. Thadeous’ jealousy for his brother is not sated by this triumphant return and, even though Fabious asks Thadeous to be his best man, Thadeous neglects to show up to his wedding. But someone else shows up in his stead; the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux). Leezar needs the virgin Belladonna to fulfill a prophecy that will reward him with a powerful dragon he can use to rule the world. Leezar makes quick work of the knights and Fabious and leaves with Belladonna. Fabious decides he needs to rescue her but Thadeous has no interest in joining … until the king says he won’t be welcome in the castle if he doesn’t. So the two embark on their journey to save Belladonna. At some point, they run into Isabel, another warrior with a vendetta against Leezar, and they’re off to rescue Fabious’ bonny lass.

Can I deviate from the movie for a second? In the previews for this movie I watched a trailer for a new production that is Bring it On: The Musical. Some might know that Bring it On is a movie that spawned 3 sequels or spin offs or whatever you’d want to call it, making it a Quadrilogy of sorts, regardless of how much Quadrilogy is not a word. So this Tetralogy has now apparently spawned a musical as well. Strangely enough, my problem is not that Bring it On won’t die, my problem is with one of the reviews they played during the trailer. Someone actually had the balls to call this musical “explosively original”. Can you call something that is so clearly based on 4 movies “original”? It seems like an oxymoron or something!

Anyways, we’re not here to talk about raping the English language, we’re here to find out what I think of Your Highness. I was probably only vaguely interested in seeing this movie because a) Natalie Portman is smokin’ hot and b) almost every time I’ve gone into a movie thinking it would suck and Danny McBride was in it, he surprised me by making a movie funny, even if for only his small part in said movies. Well I didn’t expect much from this movie and Danny McBride was a star in it, and I’m proud to say this time I was not wrong. This movie sucked. I wasn’t counting during the movie or anything, but I’m pretty sure the exact count of laughs from me in this movie was zero … maybe negative one. Pretty much every joke in this movie was about as juvenile as you could imagine, which can sometimes be funny, but obviously not all the time. I’m sure 14 year old boys would think there was funny parts in this movie, but who’s parents would let them see this? Not even just because of the violence and nudity and juvenile cock jokes, but because if you’re going to allow them to see that, show them good movies with that stuff. You want a kid to have a good sense of humor, expose them to funny stuff. Simple math right there. To give you an example, at one point McBride slays a minotaur – which was, by the way, dry humping McBride’s man slave at the time, though that’s not the worst part – and he attempts to cut it’s horn off for a trophy. Portman (whilst being hot) tells him that you can’t cut a minotaur’s horn. You might be ahead of me here, but he decides to take it’s dick instead. … yup … Then he wears it as a necklace for the next 20 minutes of the movie.

The production value of this movie was actually surprisingly good. The creatures, both CG and practical, are convincing, the back drops make you believe they’re really in the forest (they probably were) and the costumes look accurate. My assumption is that someone gave this movie a lot of money on the belief that McBride could do no wrong. Well he did, so sucks to be you, money people.

The actors were all fairly good in the movie. McBride played the same character McBride always plays, but this time with an accent. Franco was pretty good. The man servant guy was pretty good. Zooey Deschanel may have come closest to being funny in the beginning when they were using the fact that she’d been trapped in a tower so long she didn’t know normal people’s customs and started brushing her hair with a fork. I said she came closest to funny; didn’t say she arrived. And Portman was super hot. At one point she was wearing a thong! And that MAY have been the reason I wanted to watch this. Impossible to say for sure, really. As for her performance, it was okay. She probably wanted to take a little break after acting her sweet ass off in Black Swan. Justin Theroux’s choices for the wizard were a little tedious though.

So that’s basically the movie. Is this the worst movie ever? No. Is it the worst comedy? No. Is it the worst comedy set in medieval times? … Oh, no probably not. That’s probably that Martin Lawrence Black Knight movie. But, you also don’t need to see this. I don’t technically need to ruin it for you because it’s not a surprising movie, but good triumphs over evil, Zooey and Franco get married, and McBride gets Portman kinda. Surprised? No, probably not. I give this movie a “Don’t bother” out of Crap.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.