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All reviews - Movies (4)

The Perfect Score review

Posted : 7 years, 7 months ago on 11 February 2012 02:44 (A review of The Perfect Score)

The movie was surprisingly good though at certain points you really see that the funniest character in the movie does pot. A few verbal references to sex, not an issue, you hardly notice. Be sure to watch the last ten minutes because that's when the message finaly comes in.

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Juno (2007) review

Posted : 10 years, 6 months ago on 16 March 2009 05:24 (A review of Juno (2007))

If you haven’t heard about the film “Juno” yet, you shouldn’t be watching movies. Like last year’s “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Juno” was the little independent film that could.

The story follows a high school girl named Juno (Ellen Page) who gets pregnant and must deal with her situation as she finds proper parents for her child. Along the way, with the endearing support of her whole family, Juno finds a young couple (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner) who want to adopt her child. However, things aren’t terribly smooth in Juno’s journey, and she must learn to grow up faster than she really should.

Diablo Cody won an Oscar for her script of this film, and it was much deserved, no matter what the haters may say. While the dialogue is far from realistic and jam-packed with catch phrases and pop culture colloquialisms, it’s not meant to be a true representation of a real high school experience. Rather, the film encapsulates the charm of family in a hyper-realistic framework. Like “That 70s Show,” “Juno” is galvanized in its own time with charming and lovable characters that make things work.

The acting is stellar, with Ellen Page shining as the title character. Michael Cera plays directly to type as the caught-off-guard but utterly game father. The real joy in the film comes from Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons as Juno’s parents who are far from stereotypical and totally loving.

It’s hard for Hollywood to make any movie that doesn’t involve some sort of preaching. However, Jason Reitman managed to do one outside of the studio system. The fact that the film deals with teenage pregnancy – and doesn’t preach at all – is a feat of filmmaking.

Included on the single-disc DVD are deleted scenes, a gag reel, a gag take, a musical jam with the cast and crew (featuring a sizzling hot Olivia Thirlby), screen tests, a commentary with Reitman and Cody, a featurette about the creation of the film and spotlights on Juno, Leah, Bleeker, Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman.

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The Condemned (2007) review

Posted : 10 years, 6 months ago on 15 March 2009 09:20 (A review of The Condemned (2007))

While thousands of Romans filled the Colosseum to witness the glorious brutality of gladiatorial events, the idea of man hunting man classed itself up in the 20 century with the novel “The Most Dangerous Game,” in which a wealthy hunter invited a big-game hunter to his island for the ultimate hunting experience. After several screen incarnations, the basic storyline was given a shot of satirical extremism for 2003’s Battle Royale, which turned middle school students against each other with explosive neck collars for reality TV viewing pleasure. For the concept’s latest rendition, The Condemned doesn’t attempt to inject anything new into the story. In fact, it takes Battle Royale’s basic framework and strips it of its satirical strengths, making a dumbed down, manufactured movie product and bringing the spectacle back down to the level of gladiator barbarics.

Instead of a reality TV show, The Condemned is a reality show that is streamed over the internet by a multi-millionaire who contracts 10 death-row prisoners to fight to the death for their freedom. Instead of explosive neck collars, the contestants are rigged with explosive ankle collars that blow up if they are tampered with, someone pulls the red tag or 30 hours pass, whichever comes first. Mixed into this basic framework are several contrived subplots revolving around Jack Conrad (“Stone Cold” Steve Austin) that add nothing but length to the movie. The inmates are quickly dropped onto a remote island rigged with hundreds of cameras and the story proceeds as predicted – violence ensues, characters both liked and dislike die, and the end doesn’t come soon enough.

Although there is no doubt that The Condemned is a dumb as dirt action movie with fight sequences that were apparently filmed by a zoom-happy, five-year old with Tourette’s, there is a sliver of a satirical undercurrent. As the millionaire goes about airing brutality on the internet, he defends the project (also named “The Condemned”) by saying it's manufactured entertainment created to meet a demand. Meanwhile, a moralistic journalist confesses that it’s not the show’s producer that saddens and angers her, but the tens of millions who paid to watch “The Condemned” (*wink*). Perhaps the writers are smarter than we give them credit for. It’s a bold move to tell your audience that you are taking their money and showing them crap.

By all accounts, the movie is right -- don’t waste your time or money on trash. Don’t support movies that are nothing more than a cash cow. The Condemned makes it crystal clear that WWE Films is in it for the money; to find another way to package its soap operatic violence and sell it to the masses. See No Evil (starring Kane) and The Marine (starring John Cena) proved there is an audience clamoring for insulting movies that glorify violence, and The Condemned capitalizes on it. Despite the in-film warning, there will still be laughs when Steve Austin calls another man “sweetheart” and there will still be people eager to get a seat in The Condemned’s crowded theater on opening night.

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Trust the Man review

Posted : 10 years, 6 months ago on 15 March 2009 09:17 (A review of Trust the Man)

Caught this on cable. Lot's of snarky, but often times quite clever dialogue. Serious adult relationship issues are handled extremely lightly. Though, billed as a romantic comedy – it's far more a comedy than romance. In fact, it may actually be more a farce than a romance film.

Duchovny and Gyllenhaal are a pleasure to watch on screen – they are so good at what they do – I'd love to see a film where they are the leads in a relationship with each other. Here, Duchovny couples with Moore (who is always solid, but somewhat un-effecting here. And Gyllenhaal with Crudup who feels acutely miscast. His role was screaming for Keanu Reeves of a Pauly Shore.

This rickety (and oft times empty-feeling production) at leas has a script and stars (especially Duchovny) that deliver lots of edgy little subtle jokes. The dialogue is crisp and crunchy, but the romance is nearly completely absent save for the climax that for that reason feels out of place, but nonetheless sweet syrupy (if a little cliché) – anyway, it choked me up. It should have stopped with that gain, but oversteps to resolve complication number two. (And whatever happened to the children's book? And we only get one small scene with Shandling? Totally not fair!)

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