Monday, February 28, 2011

44 Inch Chest (2009) - Movie Marathon Drive-Thru Review: Film #11

On the Menu:
44 INCH CHEST (2009)

Ingredients: Ray Winstone, Tom Wilkinson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Stephen Dillane, Joanne Whalley and Melvil Poupaud. Directed by Malcolm Venville. Run time: 95 minutes. Rated: R. 

At First Bite: All I needed to read on the cover of the DVD was "From the writers of SEXY BEAST." 

Tough to Swallow: My only complaint is that I thought it was going to be more of a shoot-em-up gangster movie. 

Something to Chew On: I didn't count them, but it's been noted that the f-bomb is uttered 162 times in this movie.

Only one camera was used.

Every time I saw Whalley on screen, I could only think of WILLOW (she was Sorsha). 

Aftertaste: 44 INCH CHEST looks more like a stage play since most of it takes place on one set. I mentioned earlier than my one complaint was I assumed it to be in a different genre than it actually turned out to be. However, this crime drama is pretty mind-blowing when it comes to the actor. Seriously, reread the cast list above. Can't you imagine the awesomeness?

I doubt too many people will appreciate this film. There's not a lot of action. It's driven by its cast and explosive dialogue. There are numerous scenes that are ridiculously full of words. How on earth these guys remembered all their lines is beyond me.

Oddly enough, the movie itself is about love. Love makes you do crazy things. Crazy things like murder and forgive.

It's a bit confusing at first, but I really liked when the movie goes into Colin's mind, his breakdown.

In the end, what does it mean to be a man?

I say watch this and find out.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Toy Story 3 (2010) - Movie Marathon Drive-Thru Review: Film #10

On the Menu:
TOY STORY 3 (2010)
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, Laurie Metcalf, Jodi Benson, Timothy Dalton, Bonnie Hunt, Blake Clark, Jeff Garlin, R. Lee Ermey, Richard Kind, Whoopi Goldberg and John Morris. Directed by Lee Unkrich. Run time: 103 minutes. Rated: G.

At First Bite: I think the announcement of an upcoming TOY STORY 3 came out in 2007. I won't say that I was ever full of anticipation, but I had commented to a friend that it might be the first 3D movie I attend (having skipped on ALICE IN WONDERLAND). Alas, I did not see it in the theater.

Tough to Swallow: When the toys reset Buzz they never replace the screws they take out.

I guess no one checks the footage of the daycare security cameras. Otherwise, they'd see toys running around on their own.

How does Slinky Dog detach from the magnet?

This movie is rated G? There is a serious creep factor involved here, especially for a family flick.

Something to Chew On: Sid, the neighbor in the 1st movie, appears as a garbageman.

Blake Clark replaced Jim Varney as the voice of Slinky Dog. Varney died in 2000.

Laraine Newman has an Additional Voice credit.

Ken wears 21 different outfits.

The Pizza Planet delivery truck shows up in a flashback sequence. The truck has appeared in every Pixar film. Another trademark is the combination of letters/numbers A113, which appears on Andy's mom's license plate.

TOY STORY 3 is the solo directing debut of Unkrich. He had previously only co-directed.

It was the first animated film to make $1 billion at the worldwide box office.

The film received 5 Oscar nominations. It won Animated Feature Film and Music (Original Song).

Aftertaste: Kudos, Pixar, you nailed it again. I think maybe your only "miss" would be CARS (and you're making a sequel?). I think everyone would be more eager to see THE INCREDIBLES 2.

Anyway, I enjoyed TOY STORY 3 thoroughly. It's funny, sad, creepy and ends on a positive note. My favorite character is Big Baby, which is pretty sad and creepy in its own right.

There was definitely a moment near the end that, while it didn't make me cry, did tug on the heartstring. Come to think of it, there were two moments like that.

I would say it's better than the second movie (4 stars), but equal to the original.

It should have been rated PG though.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) - Movie Marathon Drive-Thru Review: Film #9

On the Menu:
Ingredients: Michael Moore and Wallace Shawn. Directed by Michael Moore. Run time: 127 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: I've enjoyed all of Michael Moore's movies, especially BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE and SICKO. Of course, with all the talk of President Obama and his "agenda of socialism," this movie came along at the right time to try and point out what is really wrong with capitalism.

Tough to Swallow: I like Moore's movies more when he exposes things than when he walks around trying to get into buildings. I know he's a showman, but I'd prefer if he just stuck to the facts and sad stories.

Something to Chew On: This film and ROGER & ME are Moore's only films to be distributed by someone other than a Weinstein studio.

The FDR footage was thought to be lost, but was found by one of Moore's researchers in a South Carolina library in 2008.

Aftertaste: Dead peasant insurance? Holy crap, how can that be real?! Unbelievable. This section is one of the best parts of the movie. Another is the addition of the FDR footage, which makes you really wonder what would have happened had he lived a little longer.

There are other moments that are hard to believe as well, e.g., the town that makes money off of putting kids in a juvenile home.

Democracy in the workplace is a wonderful idea. Kudos, Isthmus Engineering and Manufacturing Co-op in Wisconsin.

I think if any other director made Moore's films, then more people would watch them and maybe the world would be a better place. He makes good points, but he's too polarizing of a figure for his movies to affect everyone.

I don't think this is his best, but it's still one to watch.

Here's hoping he keeps churning them out.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Big Fan (2009) - Movie Marathon Drive-Thru Review: Film #8

On the Menu:
BIG FAN (2009)

Ingredients: Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Rapaport, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Matt Servitto, Gino Cafarelli, Serafina Fiore and Jonathan Hamm. Directed by Robert Siegel. Run time: 87 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: I had heard good things about this when it came out on DVD. Oswalt is one of my favorite comedians, and I've only been disappointed by 3 movies (out of 22) starring Rapaport. Plus, it's about a Giants fan, so there was a possibility of hearing/seeing that the Redskins didn't also suck in movie world.

Tough to Swallow: The scenes at night are really dark and hard to make out at times.

There isn't really a media circus as one would expect following an incident involving a pro athlete.

In the law firm commercial, the name Bauman is pronounced Bo-man by Paul's brother (one of the partners). The client in the commercial pronounces it Bow-man (think wow). There are numerous outtakes of the making of this commercial on the DVD. Also, in the commercial there's an apostrophe in "auto accidents" making it "auto accident's."

When Paul is reading the newspaper article about the investigation stalling, the filmmakers copied and pasted a couple paragraphs to make the article longer.

The final game of the season between the Giants and Eagles is a Monday night game. There are no Monday night games scheduled in the final week.

Paul's last name, Aufiero, is pronounced Aw-fee-arrow. Phil pronounces it as Ah-four-ee-oh and Ah-far-ee-oh.

Paul introduces himself to Phil as Mark. But, Phil calls him Paul in the restroom.

Sal shows Paul the schedule for the upcoming season, but it is a 15-week schedule with 14 games instead of a 17-week schedule with 16 games. Plus, the Giants wouldn't play the Dolphins, Patriots and Chargers in the same regular season. The Chargers are an AFC West team; the others are in the East. The 17-week schedule should include the Bills and Jets as matchups, not the Chargers.

Another thing wrong with that schedule is it lists December 9th and 20th both as Sundays.

Alas, no Redskins highlights or mentions. They are obviously behind both Philly and New York in the division race though.

Something to Chew On: Siegel directed and wrote the screenplay. He also has a cameo as a NY Newsday reporter.

It's funny that Paul chides his brother for eliminating contractions from his speech in order to sound smarter, but if you read any of Paul's notes, he crosses out contractions and writes out the phrase.

Pay attention to what kind of cake Paul's 7-year-old nephew is presented with on his birthday. Hilarious.

The 30-minute Q&A with Siegel and Oswalt on the DVD is well worth the watch.

Aftertaste: I didn't expect Oswalt to pull off this character, but he definitely reminded me of De Niro's delusional Rupert Pupkin in THE KING OF COMEDY. Paul is no Gil Renard though, that's for sure. He's not a smart man either.

Paul is obsessive, sure, but it's his loyalty that is his downfall. One could liken his situation to that of a domestic abuse victim. He is the one victimized, yet makes excuses to maintain the relationship.

BIG FAN is a dark comedy, and might be difficult to watch for some if only because Paul isn't really a likable character and you feel sorry for him. His buddy, Sal (Corrigan), might be the "brightest" part of the film, and that's saying something. The funniest scenes, to me, are the root beer and internet scenes (with Sal and Paul).

I like the writing. I mean, Siegel went from THE WRESTLER to this. He creates a dumbed-down football fanatic to perfection. And, that's what is also so great about Oswalt's performance. He's so much smarter than the character, and doesn't follow sports. He's a comic book nerd.

It's impressive.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Time Traveler's Wife (2009) - Movie Marathon Drive-Thru Review: Film #7

On the Menu:
Ingredients: Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams, Ron Livingston, Arliss Howard and Stephen Tobolowsky. Directed by Robert Schwentke. Run time: 107 minutes. Rated: PG-13.

At First Bite: I'm a sucker for time travel and Rachel McAdams. Sue me.

Tough to Swallow: Henry has no control over when he travels yet tells Clare (in their first meeting) he'll be back Tuesday at 4 o'clock. Later, we're shown the scene of him sneaking a peek at Clare's diary where he explains he's trying to memorize the dates. Seems backwards to me.

In Clare's diary, the calendar for February 1984 shows 30 days.

On the train, Henry's mom is reading the Chicago Tribune, but page 3 is The Washington Post.

In the scene following the breaking plate, Henry runs across the street. There's a Canadian flag flying in front of the building. The movie is supposed to be set in Chicago.

During an argument in Clare's workshop, whatever she is working on continuously flips over between shots.

Time travel in this story is slightly different than we're used to: Henry can't change past events. Okay, but how is cheating at contests because of knowing the future results exempt from this rule? Or with past-Henry's sexcapade the night after the big argument? Sure, that's changing the present/future, but it's still meddling.

It's odd that more Henrys don't show up in the meadow at one time. I mean, Henry explains that his traveling destinations are caused by a "gravity" -- he's drawn to important places/events. So, wouldn't it be plausible and highly likely to see a big Henry party? Sometimes we see two at a time, but most often the case is one Henry leaves and is replaced by a future- or past-Henry (as if there can be only one Henry per instance).

Also, given what we know she knows, I wonder what Alba thinks of her maternal grandfather.

Something to Chew On: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston bought the rights to the novel before it was published.

Author Audrey Niffenegger wanted Adrien Brody for the lead. Eva Green wanted the role of Clare.

Pretty sure you get a nice glimpse of McAdams's backside. I thought maybe it was a body double, but couldn't see a break in continuity from when she gets out of bed.

A clip from the 1939 movie DARK VICTORY (featuring Bette Davis and Ronald Reagan) is playing on TV when Henry comes back from telling little Clare he's married.

There's a nice bit of foreshadowing in the scene where Henry meets Clare's dad. Note: Check out the mirror in every shot, and her dad's next-to-last line of dialogue.

One of the dates in Clare's diary is May 14, 1986 (my sixth birthday).

Aftertaste: Maybe, in order to really appreciate this movie, you have to forget everything you know about how time travel works in other films, books, etc. Yes, it was really hard for me to do. I imagine it would be like forgetting about all you know about vampire and werewolf lore in order to appreciate the TWILIGHT movies.

It's a love story, first and foremost. Time travel is just an obstacle to overcome.

Seriously, your brain will explode trying to make sense of the ending.

From what I've read about the novel's ending, it's very Nicholas Sparks-y, but I like it more than the movie's.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gentlemen Broncos (2009) - Movie Marathon Drive-Thru Review: Film #6

On the Menu:

Ingredients: Michael Angarano, Jemaine Clement, Jennifer Coolidge, Mike White, Sam Rockwell, Josh Pais, Halley Feiffer and Héctor Jiménez. Directed by Jared Hess. Run time: 90 minutes. Rated: PG-13.

At First Bite: I skipped NACHO LIBRE, but I, like most people, loved NAPOLEON DYNAMITE. I figured GENTLEMEN BRONCOS to come close to that level of greatness since Hess wrote the story and was at the helm. Plus, Clement is downright hilarious in anything.

Tough to Swallow: The character of Lonnie might be a little too weird even for this movie, and Jennifer Coolidge kinda freaks me out (always).

Something to Chew On: There's a scene after the credits.

Clement was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in the Best Supporting Male category.

Aftertaste: It's an oddball movie that's full of oddball characters. If you didn't like NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, then you won't like GENTLEMEN BRONCOS. Seriously, Benjamin and Napoleon live in the same world; they could very well live in the same city.

Two scenes stand out. One involves a snake, and the other is one of the best kissing scenes ever put to film. The cast is great. Angarano plays awkward perfectly. Clement and Rockwell steal the movie though.


Just Wright (2010) - Movie Marathon Drive-Thru Review: Film #5

On the Menu:

Ingredients: Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton, Pam Grier, Phylicia Rashad, James Pickens, Jr. and some NBA stars. Directed by Sanaa Hamri. Run time: 100 minutes. Rated: PG.

At First Bite: The last Queen Latifah movie I watched was the romantic comedy LAST HOLIDAY, and I enjoyed it. So, here comes another romcom with the Queen... and basketball. It couldn't be too bad, right?

Tough to Swallow: First and foremost, Common is a musician, not an actor. He can play basketball and smile. Those appear to be his limits in the film world.

The talents of Rashad and Grier are totally wasted in this movie. So disappointing.

I find it hard to believe Patton's character would do a 180 after all the time she invested.

In the credits, the song NEXT TIME (by Common featuring Queen Latifah) is listed as NEXT TIME (Just Right Version). Really? That's just rong.

Something to Chew On: The NBA stars who show up are: Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Elton Brand, Rashard Lewis, Bobby Simmons, Jr. and Rajon Rondo.

Jalen Rose, Stuart Scott, Mike Fratello, Kenny Smith, Mike Golic, Mike Greenberg and Marv Albert also make appearances.

The movie hit theaters on my 30th birthday.

Aftertaste: You can't not like Queen Latifah. Unfortunately, you can not like pretty much everything else about this movie. Well, there is some jazz in the soundtrack, which is a treat.

It's billed as a romantic comedy, but there's isn't a lot of comedy and neither of the romances really click. The story is predictable, but the ladies will love it because it's a Cinderella story. I don't think there's enough basketball to tide over the guys though. They should probably stay away.