In Time (2011)


For a Few to be Immortal, Many Must Die

I confess that I never had any interest in watching today’s movie.  And yet, while thumbing through a RedBox, I decided to pick it up.  I’m an enigma.  The movie seemed like a fairly typical action movie that even the very attractive cast could not pique my interest in.  But it was slim pickings in the RedBox that I went to, so you take what you can get for your entertainment dollar.  But I’ve been surprised by movies before, so let’s see how this one did.  Today’s movie is In Time, written and directed by Andrew Niccol, and starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Vincent Kartheiser, Matthew Bomer, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Wilde, and Johnny Galecki.

What a shocker!  It’s the future and it’s not looking that bright.  Well, one part of it is: everyone in the future stops aging at the age of 25.  The catch is that everyone is given one year’s worth of time, starting at that age.  The time can basically act as money.  You earn it by working, you spend it on living.  But when you run out of money, you drop dead.  We follow a 28-year-old factory worker named Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) who lives with his mother, Rachel (Olivia Wilde), and struggle to get by day by day.  All that changes when he saves the live of a guy named Henry Hamilton (Matthew Bomer), who repays Will by giving him 116 years and then “times out” (dies).  Will is really excited to give some time to his mom, but she times out as well.  Not really knowing what to do with himself, he decides to go to the rich district to gamble with his extra time.  He wins 1,100 years from businessman Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser) and meets his daughter, Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried).  But Will has a problem: the police force (herein called the Timekeepers) found Hamilton’s dead body and think that Will stole the time from him.  At a party at Weis’ house, the Timekeepers show up to arrest Will, but Will escapes using Sylvia as a hostage.  With all of his time confiscated by the Timekeepers, what is Will going to do next?

Meh.  That’s what I have to say about this movie.  Meh.  The idea of the movie is interesting enough, but the execution leaves the greater majority of the movie people looking at their wrists while holding hands.  It’s not a new idea to film goers that the future is going to be a shitty place.  It’s not a new idea to anyone that rich people lead better and longer lives.  But turning the amount of time you have in this world into currency is a pretty nifty idea.  One that I hope never becomes reality, but it’s okay to watch it in a movie.  If it is something they’re looking at making a reality, I certainly hope they figure out how to transfer time between two people with something more than a handshake.  That shit will get stolen all the time.  Then the world would just be rich people and criminals.  But the movie eventually degenerates into a pretty basic chase movie, and even more often into a futuristic Robin Hood.  The message gets a little lost when Will and Sylvia are doing the right thing (kinda) by taking time from the rich and giving it to the poor, only to have the poor have their time taken and get killed for it.  The movie can’t decide if it wants us to do the right thing or not bother because it will only get people killed.  And to defeat these time thieves, Will must get into something that looks like an arm wrestling match, as if I was watching Over the Top with Sylvester Stallone.  Will also gets blamed for the death of Johnny Galecki because he gave him 10 years and Johnny decided he needed to go blow a year of that on booze and die in the gutter with 9 years left.  His wife then gets all bitchy at Will for that.  He tried to do something nice, bitch!  You’re the one that married the alcoholic!  The movie was not all boring though, and it at least looked good.  It shouldn’t be that hard when everyone in the cast has to be able to play 25.  Some Timberlake for the women, and some Seyfried and Wilde for the men.

The performances were fine enough, but nothing really spectacular behind the physical.  The movie didn’t require a lot of range out of anybody, really.  It was really weird to me to have Timberlake talking to Olivia Wilde as if she was his mother, even though they look to be in the same age range.  And the same could be said for Weis when he introduced his step-mother, wife, and daughter, who all looked roughly the same.  Nobody really had to put on that much of a performance in the movie beyond regular stuff and running a lot.  If you were pretty and able to look at your wrist, you’re in.

In Time is a decent idea that never really got very interesting.  Lots of running, lots of hand holding and clock checking, and pretty people everywhere.  But really not a whole lot more than that.  It’s not a bad movie, but it’s one you can easily do without.  If you need to see it so bad, you can find it at a RedBox, but there are better movies to spend your time with.  And so, In Time gets “Don’t waste my time” out of “I don’t have time.”

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Friends with Benefits (2011)


Let’s Play Tennis

Today ended up being a pretty rough day for me when it comes to reviews. Not because I didn’t have time to review anything but had to force one in, but because I watched 3 movies and want to do all 3 reviews back to back. These three movies are all comedies, but much different types of comedies that you will be presented with over the next 3 days. First on my list is the 3rd part to the epic and unrelated friends who fuck each other but won’t get into a relationship series. I saw No Strings Attached before I started doing reviews, so I assume I will need to back track to it eventually to write the review for it. Love and Other Drugs I saw and reviewed already. That leaves only one: Friends with Benefits, written by Harley Peyton, Keith Merryman, and David A. Newman, directed by Will Gluck, and starring Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Richard Jenkins, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, and Woody Harrelson, with notable cameos by Emma Stone, Andy Samberg, Shaun White, and Masi Oka.

Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis) get dumped by their respective significant others, Emma Stone and Andy Samberg, at the very beginning of the movie, and that makes them gunshy about any future relationships. Dylan, an art director for a small internet company, goes to New York City to take a meeting with GQ about a job offer and Jamie is sent to try to convince him it’s a good idea. The two hit it off and Jamie really sells him on NYC, so he takes the job. They become pretty good friends pretty quickly. One day, while mocking a romantic comedy, Dylan proposes the idea that the two of them should bump uglies – or in their case, bump ridiculously hot and handsomes – and just be friends. This goes really awesome for them for a long time. Jamie starts dating a guy named Parker, who ditches out on her after they have sex. Dylan proposes that she accompany him back to LA to visit his family, sister Annie (Jenna Elfman) and father (Richard Jenkins). On this trip, their feelings start to interfere with their awesome fuck-buddyship. It’s a rom-com, so you can expect a good bit of happily ever after.

Having seen all three sex buddy rom-coms, I can say this one is by far the best. Love and Other Drugs was too much drama and way not enough funny, and, though Gyllenhaal and Hathaway are a pretty pair, you can give us TOO much nudity. No Strings Attached was funnier than Love and Other Drugs by a lot, and the drama wasn’t as heavy, and Portman is a great actress, but she was dragged down a lot by the not very likeable Kutch. Friends with Benefits manages to hit a nice sweet spot in all categories. Timberlake and Kunis are both good looking enough to appeal to any human with normal sexuality, and we don’t see everything so we don’t get bored with looking at them naked. There is a good deal of comedy to the movie and a fair amount of drama, but nowhere near enough to call this melodrama like Love and Other Drugs. It was light drama, so we don’t get depressed in the middle of our comedy. The pair in this movie have a lot of good dialogue written for them. The first act of the movie is filled with great back and forth between the two stars, and most of it is pretty funny. Their banter suffers a little once the fucking begins, but that might be in part that I was desperately searching for a little more nudity from Kunis. And the search is what I want. Once you give it to me, I’m satisfied. When you beat me over the head with it, I’m bored. Their banter gets back to form getting towards the end of the movie. I especially liked when Kunis was making fun of Timberlake for the fact that he used to like Kris Kross, and Timberlake busts a rap from “Jump”. One problem I had with the movie was that they sat around mocking a rom-com for using manipulative music and all the typical things from rom-coms, but they use most of these staples in their own movie. I’m sure it was done to be a little tongue-in-cheek, but it more served to just point out those things and make us notice them in their own movie. One such cliche is them sitting on the Hollywood sign, although that did end in some good funny. One thing they did that I don’t recall ever seeing is that they had Annie’s son (the aspiring magician) have his arm catch on fire, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kid catch fire in a movie. Also, if a movie wants to stand out so much, they should make the girl go after the guy for a change. Do we have to do ALL the heavy lifting just because of our greater upper body strength, ladies?

I had refused to allow myself to say this for a long time, but I like Justin Timberlake. *NSYNC was awful enough to make me hate him for a long time, but his appearances on SNL and Jimmy Fallon made me think he may be able to do some decent comedy. Friends with Benefit only supports that. He’s both charming and funny in this movie, and good-looking and naked enough that ladies and gays would be all over it. For the mens and other gays, Mila Kunis is hot. Real hot. And pretty damned funny to boot. She’s also charming and funny, and both actors put on a pretty good performance during the short-lived drama parts. The things they said to each other in the inevitable part where they get angry at each other would sting pretty badly in a real fight as well. Richard Jenkins doesn’t add much comedy as Timberlake’s father, but he adds some heart to his parts because of his advancing Alzheimer’s. On the exact opposite side, Patricia Clarkson doesn’t bring much drama, but brings plenty of humor as Kunis’ hippie mom. She’s almost as funny here as she was in Easy A. It’s not too much of a surprise that Jenna Elfman does some good funny in her short time in the movie. One of my favorite things she did seemed improvised, when they were having dinner and Timberlake and Jenkins were talking about sports, and Elfman was sitting to the side mumbling to herself “We get it, you guys like sports.” blah blah blah. Also not in the movie very long, but very enjoyable and original in his performance, was Woody Harrelson. He played a very masculine sports columnist, but he was also very, VERY gay. He talked with Timberlake in a way that most guys talk to each other in movies, but instead of pussy, he was all about the wang. The cameo performances are nice, but don’t really add much to the movie.

I can thoroughly recommend this movie to you guys. I got it from RedBox, so it didn’t cost me very much money to watch this, and I don’t really feel the need to go out and buy it immediately, but I will probably add it to my collection eventually. I think you’d do well to put it on your Netflix queue or your RedBox reserve. Guys have Kunis, Girls have Timberlake, and both get a good amount of funny and an interesting enough story, with pretty good performances throughout. If you’re only going to see one of the plethora of “friend fucking movies”, I recommend this one. Friends with Benefits gets “Your breasts. They intrigue me” out of “I can work with that”.

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Yogi Bear (2010)


I kept putting it off and putting it off.  Almost every time I went to a RedBox I’d see it, but lacked the courage to rent it.  Today I decided I would nut up and rent … Yogi Bear.  That’s right, I watched it!  Yogi Bear features the voices of Dan Aykroyd as Yogi and Justin Timberlake as Boo-Boo, as well as the live-action performances of Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh (who I know as JD’s brother from Scrubs), TJ Miller, and Andrew Daly.

Yogi Bear is the story of a bear, named Yogi.  He loves to steal pic-a-nic baskets.  He has a tiny friend named Boo-Boo and a pair of park rangers (Cavanagh and Miller) that constantly have to try to stop him from ruining the serenity of the park campers.  Then Rachel, a documentarian and animal lover, comes to Jellystone to shoot a documentary about Yogi and Boo-Boo by putting a camera in Boo-Boo’s bow tie (does anyone else predict that paying off in some way at the end of the movie?)  Ranger Smith (Cavanagh) and Rachel (Faris) then start falling for each other, Ranger Jones (Miller) feels like he’s paid his dues enough as assistant park ranger and is time for his promotion, and a corrupt mayor (Daly) takes advantage of that so that he can get rid of Smith, sell the park, and take the city out of the debt that he’s created.  Can Yogi save the day?!  …Yeah, of course.

Okay, the most surprising thing I can say to you about this movie right now is: … I didn’t think it was that bad.  Yeah, I said it.  I probably just lost a whole bunch of readers now, I guess, but I can’t tell you a lie, people.  But what I mean by I like it is not that I think you should all go out and rent it and watch it by yourself, I mean if your kid drags you to it, it’s not that bad.  Maybe this is just because I watched Alpha and Omega a little while ago, but this movie far surpassed my abysmal expectations to arrive somewhere around a mediocre movie.  There are actually a few solid chuckles to this movie.

I do have cast problems here though.  The first one has been something I’ve been going mad about for a while now.  What is the point in casting a famous actor for a voice acting role, especially if you’re going to have them sound nothing like themselves?  The point of a Justin Timberlake or a Brad Pitt (as heard in Megamind) isn’t really their voice, but their look.  So if you have them do a voice, it should at least be their own voice so people can say “Oh it’s JT!”  JT does a great job with Boo-Boo’s voice (as best I can remember), but they could have paid a whole lot less for some random voice talent.  And while we’re on the subject, I don’t remember if Yogi’s voice was always like it was in the movie, but it was really grating here.  I see a little news bulletin on Rotten Tomatoes that says they’re setting up for a Yogi 2: Electric Boogaloo, and if they go with Aykroyd again, he should reel it in a little.  As for the live-action cast: no complaints.  I love Anna Faris for reasons I don’t even comprehend, Cavanagh and Miller both do good jobs, and Andrew Daly is probably the redemption of the movie for me personified.  The biggest problem with the cast is; why didn’t I hear about any of them?  I had heard about Aykroyd and Timberlake from outside sources, and seeing Faris in the movie completely caught me off guard.  What’s the point in advertising for the movie if you’re not going to mention people that might drive people into the theaters?

And the worst part about this movie is the ending.  Not that the one they went with was the worst thing ever, but why did they not go with the much better, alternate ending that I saw on YouTube?  I would’ve howling loved this movie if they had ended it with the Assassination of Yogi Bear by the coward Boo-Boo ending, though you may have turned off parents and children.  Sometimes you just gotta do the unconventional thing though, Yogi.  That’s how art is made.  So, with the much less awesome ending they went with, I give this movie a “You may not hate it if your kids drag you to it” out of Apples.