Horrible Bosses

“Cell phone crisis solved. Mom ended up calling the local store and they just gave her the activation password. I then had to fight with it to get my tones set up, but they’re good to go now. It just took a bigger chunk outta my day than I’d have liked. But I was still able to stay sorta on track for the movies, just barely.

Im not so sure it was entirely worth the rush. The awkward factor was a little too high for a little too long. The three bosses had was must’ve been incredibly fun scenery chewing roles that strangely suited them. But all of their set ups went on just a little too long, and they were just way too improbable. There was an attempt to establish how locked into their situations our three heroes (?) were, but I still couldnt quite buy it.

Once we got deep into the story, I was into it. There was less screentime for the bosses, and even some suspense and good build up with a pretty decent twist. It was too late to entirely redeem my opinion of the film, but it was enough to keep me interested.

The cast was a win, even if the rest wasn’t. As I was staring to say earlier, the casting choices for the bosses was truly inspired. Respected actors with silly roles they could just run with. I was particularly amused by the thought of former wild child Colin Farrel playing a cokehead. Even better were our three employees. Nothing but love for Jason Bateman, and he did have some pretty classic moments. I’d never really encountered Charlie Day before, but I rather liked his manic dorkitude, quite adorable really. However, the one who really stood out to me was Jason Sudeikis. Of course I’ve seen him around before, but I never thought too much of him. Its not like he did anything particularly special. Perhaps he was just the most likeable of the characters, but I just couldnt keep my eyes off him.

Yeah so ultimately good premise, just took a while to get its act together. Not worth rushing too, but you dont really need to avoid it either.

Horrible Bosses – \m/ \m/ \n

Larry Crowne

“I should have learned by now. When going to a movie that’s aimed at an older target audience, especially on a weekend matinee, arrive extra early. I haven’t sat so many rows back in a while. But yes, Larry Crowne doesnt look like the typical flick I’d go for. Not exactly subject matter I find very relatable, nor is there any violence, offensive comedy, or singing. But what it does have is Mr Tom Hanks in the multi role of star, director, and co-writer. That, goddammit, is good enough for me.

Well, good enough for me to go. Not necessarily enough for me to enjoy it. The problem is that Hanks’ title character is at a point in his life that royally sucks. His costar, Julia Roberts, is also at an equally low point. It’s tough to successfully convey that type of feeling without dragging your audience down with you. Unfortunately, they kinda failed in that attempt. The majority of the film felt awkward and a little bit painful. Things did eventually pick up, but it took a while. I think Julia took the melancholy too far, and Hanks felt a little superficial. Not sure if it was the writing or the performance to blame. Either way, it makes me a sad panda.

The wins were in the supporting cast. Wilmer Valderrama was an unexpected surprise. Taraji P Hensen provided a bubbly burst of energy. Likewise Gugu Mbatha-Raw is one to keep an eye on for her fun spirit. I felt like George Takei was trying to chew scenery and ended up falling a bit short.

Overall, glad I went as it was at least different from your typical summer fare. But not the gold I would have expected from this group of Hollywood heroes.

Larry Crowne – \m/ \m/ \n

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

“Midnight movies aren’t what they used to be. Okay, maybe the fact that this one had some 9:00 shows that were added in last minute is partly to blame for taking out some of the magic. But I remember when the entire auditorium would be packed with people so excited for the film. And only certain really big and highly anticipated flicks had these showings. Now, the crowd is sparse and jaded. My gang has actually diminished over the summer. We were about a dozen at Pirates, 5 at Xmen and Lantern, and a mere 2 at Transformers. Im sure HP will kick it up, but we’re gonna be split between the Imax and the Fenway.

I considered punting the midnight fun since as it was I approached this movie with cautious apprehension. The first Transformers was fun and exciting. The second, well let’s just say that the people behind it have admitted that it was filmed off a draft script and they have apologized for it. In short, I’ll say that this one ranked firmly between the two, leaning more towards the fun of the original.

What Dark of the Moon had most going for it was a fantastic cast. There was a great cameo or two, and some wonderful featured roles. Alan Tudyk and Ken Jeong chewed scenery like there was no tomorrow, because with the Decepticon invasion there very might well be no tomorrow. Francis McDormand brought a level of class to a role that should have been well beneath her. John Turturro maintained that level of zaniness from the previous films. Patrick Dempsey was a suave surprise.

For our leading cast, Shia LaBeouf acquired this new confident and forceful arrogance that looked quite good on him. Normally I prefer his used to be trademark doofyness (circa his Even Stevens days) but walking the line between low level bad ass and potentially annoying douche bag worked. Our new leading lady, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, was a vast improvement over her predecessor. This girl actually seems to be capable of acting, at least with the minimal amount she was given. The rest was her looking hot and confused, but that’s just part of the job.

I feel that Michael Bay has come a long way, but he still has some learning left to do. On the one hand, he is an ideal director for this franchise, given that he seems to be incredibly in touch with his inner twelve year old. Namely, the explosions are larger than life and the girl is hotter than believable. He overcame some of his ADD music video directorial style of quick short shots pieced together. However, he still needs to learn when to say when. The big climactic battle sequence lasted for about an hour. Yes, ONE HOUR. That clocked the entire film in at about two and a half hours. I was right with it for half of that. I conferred with my movie buddy afterwards and we actually both lost interest at about the same point. Keep in mind, I am an action junkie, but even this action junkie needs some narrative.

So the film is certainly losing half a point for the extraneous battle sequences. Otherwise, it wasn’t bad. I was concerned I was gonna fall asleep, but either the sip of Five Hour Energy was sufficient, or Bay kept the pace going pretty well, except for the aforementioned issues

Transformers: Dark of the Moon – \m/ \m/ \m/

Cars 2

“I was kinda distracted during this one. It’s not fault of the movie, I’ve just been stressing out about some stuff and was rather anxious to get back to it. That said, I did find the movie enjoyable, just not quite as magical as Pixar usually is.

When the first Cars came out, I remember thinking it was a really strange concept. But it worked. The characters were fun and the automobile play and jokes were so clever. Cars 2 was a lot more of that. It didnt make the sequel mistake of overdoing what the original did. But it also didnt really add too much.

I did appreciate that the story was more centered on Mater than Lightning McQueen. Mater is my favorite character (with Guido close behind) so I was more than happy to see the spotlight follow him. The whole spy storyline was great, just because it was cool to see that in the Cars world. I liked that it had a strong friendship message for the kiddies.

Great additions to the voice cast. I recognized Eddie Izzard immediately and was thrilled to hear him. And you can’t go wrong with Michael Caine. I also appreciated the reverent nod to the late Paul Newman’s Doc Hudson.

Should point out that I opted for the 2D showing, and I dont feel like I missed out on anything.

Cars 2 – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

Bad Teacher

“It’s amazing how much more I can fit into a weekend afternoon when I wake up early. Like today, almost no effort in making a double feature happen, and I still have time for laundry and an ExpDelTop100 film.

The day started off with Bad Teacher. I wouldnt say that I didnt like it. There’s definitely films where I’ve been dying to get outta there as fast as possible, and that wasn’t the case. But I didnt particularly like it either. Im really not sure what to think.

Let’s break it down, shall we? I feel like the humor was really just going for shock value more than anything. Some of it worked, but a lot of it fell flat. However, the set up is different enough that this film actually could get away with it. I feel like if this type of comedy turns into a trend instead of just making an occasional appearance, then we might be in trouble.

I will admit that I am not much of a Cameron Diaz fan, but I will say that she did very much own the role. Not enough to make me love her, but I could certainly appreciate her performance. I feel like something was still kinda off though. Most of her dialogue was mean for the sake of being mean, without being too clever, but it was novel enough that it worked, if that makes any sense.

For me though, the film was all about the boys. At first, I did love seeing Justin Timberlake take a geeky turn, but after a while, his toolfulness just got on my nerves. He was too much of a wussy pushover, and I got really annoyed with him. Keep in mind, that I adore the boy, so for me to get that put off by him is kind of a big mark in the negative column. But the saving grace of the movie was Jason Segel. Loved his character, loved the chemistry he had with Diaz, loved how he was actually funny. If it weren’t for him, I dont think I’d have been able to see any other redeeming qualities in the film.

But if the whole crude adult in proper company think appeals to you, I’d suggest you stick with Bad Santa.

Bad Teacher -\m/ \m/ \n

Mr Popper’s Penguins

“I really dont know what pushed Mr Popper’s Penguins onto my must list. I do like Jim Carey, but I never feel I NEED to see his movies. I like kiddie films, but I usually go for the animated ones. I think it was a combination of Clark Gregg, and the movie being on EW’s summer list thingy on GetGlue. Either way, really happy I went.

I gotta admit, I was a bit apprehensive when I walked in. There were a lot of little kids, littler than usual. And right behind me there was a lady with a total mom laugh. Y’know, laughing really loudly at all the stupid obvious slapstick and such that’s directed at the five year olds. But I also saw a couple of families there that were so sweet. In front of me was a Mommy and Daddy and their two daughters. Its usually just one parent or the other.

But yeah, you know how I’ve been complaining about how they dont make family movies as good as they used to? Mr Popper’s was the first step in the right direction that I’ve come across in a loooong while. Sure a lot of the humor was juvenile, but it was a really heartfelt story with solid three dimensional characters. Besides, who doesnt love cute little penguins? Nimrod was totally my favorite, and not just because he had the bestest name. True, most of his gags were “”oh he fell over”” but there was this one bit that had me laughing hysterically for a while. I also loved the fact that even Captain, one of the penguins, had a character arc.

Good performance from Jim Carey. It gave him a chance to balance some drama with his usual comedic flair. The supporting cast was fantastic as well. Loved seeing Clark Gregg as the baddie type, since he’s typically the hopelessly good guy. David Krumholtz was a pleasant surprise, even if his character was a douche. And you can never go wrong with Angela Lansbury.

Penguins also gets props for the peculiar Pippi and her penchant for p words. This lover of alliteration legitimately liked that.

Is it weird that I walked outta there with a wicked craving for tartar sauce? It was all the damn fish the penguins kept eating.

Mr Popper’s Penguins – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Super 8

“And now we arrive at the flick I actually saw today. Like most fans of sci-fi I was rather excited about the collaboration between JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg. Actually, it was more Abrams, which is something that makes me happy.

In short, I feel like the film was a good idea, but felt rather disjointed. It centers on some kids who are filming a zombie movie during their summer vacation, and they end up witnessing a mysterious train crash. And then, because it’s a JJ Abrams film, supernatural stuff starts occuring around town. I did enjoy the monster movie set up because it gave the characters a lot more dimension, however, it created such a delay in getting to the alien thing. Then by the time we got there, the original set up no longer mattered.

What I did love were the children. Again, because of the set up, we got a deeper look at them than we would have if it was just a straight up scifi film. They were a ragtag bunch of Goonies, each with their own quirks and stories. I was particularly impressed with Elle Fanning. I expected her to be kinda annoying, but I loved her. She’s not nearly as precocious as her big sis Dakota.

Unfortunately because of the disconnect between the parts of the film, that dragged the pacing down, so I was kinda checking the watch a lot towards the end. I would be interested to see what would have happened if this ended up just being a film about kids making a zombie movie. Clearly, it would have resolved itself much differently, but that was the part of Super 8 that I most cared about.

Super 8 – \m/ \m/ \m/

Green Lantern

“Here’s one of the movies I was most excited for this summer. The main reason for that excitement I will freely admit was Ryan Reynolds, and his abs in 3D. In that area, at least, the film didnt disappoint.

I do like superhero movies. But with the excpetion of Superman (and some Batman) I’m a Marvel girl. DC just isnt my world. If it hasn’t been on the big screen, I know nothing about it. Such was the case for me with Green Lantern. I was actually kinda excited to see this because I knew nothing about him. And I did have one of my buddies geeking out beforehand giving us Green Lantern 101, which was much appreciated. As far as the film itself, it’s one of those that just sorta was.

So much of the film was spent on establishing the character and his story. It’s an inevitable part of a superhero movie, especially for one who isn’t so mainstream. With Lantern, you not only needed to introduce Hal Jordan and how he got his powers, but you also had to explain how those powers work, and the backstory behind them. Yeesh that’s a lotta exposition. With all that, you really dont have much left for the rest of the movie. and that’s really how it felt.

Ryan Reynolds did add a certain charm to the film that kept it engaging. As my Lantern loving buddy pointed out afterwards, any of the clever moments and snappy dialogue was all Reynolds since that’s not typically part of Lantern’s persona. My response is thank God for that, because it really would have been an utterly boring film otherwise.

I am interested to see what happens with the franchise if it can take off. There was a mid credit scene that sets up the next storyline, which also lines up with the Lantern lesson I’d been given pre-movie.

Green Lantern – \m/ \m/ \m/”

Tree of Life

“I have a little bit of catch up to play. The past few days have been sorta nonstop and exhausting, so I didnt feel like putting in the effort to get these done on time. Considered just skipping them, but I actually do have a lot to say about Tree of Life.

The buzz coming back about Tree of Life from Cannes was quite curious indeed. The early report was that there were boos and walk outs at the screening. But then somehow it went on to win the Palm D’or. Strangely enough, having watched the film, I could see how it’d get such strong contradictory reactions. And I hate to say it, but Im on the negative camp.

The approach to the film was interesting. It wasn’t really a through story, just a bunch of images. By images, I mean small scenes, but they weren’t connected in a narrative. It felt more like a moving picture gallery. Frankly, I found the whole thing \m/ boring. I’m sorry, but I like to be told a story, and I didnt grasp one here. Sure, most of the images ran like scenes in any other movie, but there wasn’t a strong connection between them. It was like jumping from one set of events to another without any resolution. It’s exactly the sort of snooty and pretentious feel that does go on to win awards at film festivals.

But here’s the real kicker for where it lost me. Yes, it started off with some images of the family and then a few of the flash foward to one of hte kids as a grown up. Then, the next 45 minutes was just images of nature with classical music playing. Kinda reminiscent of 2001, but far longer and with less point. IMDB trivia tells me that apparently Terrance Malick had wanted to do a film about the origins of life. This is sorta the remnants of that idea. Bo-ring. In all honesty, I fell asleep for a good half hour or so during this, drifting in and out of consciousness, only to find that nothing had really progressed). Again, the type that wins film snob awards.

I hear tell that Malick has a 6 hour long director’s cut in mind. Please dear God dont ever make me hafta sit thru it.

Tree of Life – \m/

Beginners

“The excitement I get for smaller indie films is different than the one I get for the big blockbusters. I dont know how to explain it really. I suppose I feel more drawn to the characters and the hopes of a deep, moving story as opposed to a lot of flashy pretty stuff. I felt that way about Beginners. I was just dying to see it. Although Im sure Ewan McGregor was a big part of why I was psyched.

Okay here’s the quick recap for the majority of you who are scratching your heads at this movie. Ewan McGregor plays a guy who’s dealing with the recent loss of his father, played by Christopher Plummer. Plummer’s character came out as gay in his 70’s right after his wife passed. Soon after was when he was diagnosed as terminally ill. The film goes back and forth between two points in time centered around McGregor: 1-spending the last few years with his father, living his life to the fullest as a newly out and proud gay man, and 2-picking up the pieces of his life now that his father’s gone, and starting a new relationship with a girl he meets played by Melanie Laurent (one of the badass Inglorious Basterds babes).

The film was just so beautiful and so sad. I was crying through so much of it. The reason for the tears was how much the father reminded me of my Daddy, except for the whole homosexual thing, of course (although that did greatly appeal to my hag side). It was mostly in the way he chose to live his life without letting it be controlled by his illness, which in turn made the scenes where he was beated down by it that much stronger.

The cast was so strong. I fell in love with all three of those main characters. Their emotions all felt so real. I could hear sighs and cries all around me in the theater. As I left, I saw the girls who’d been sitting on the other end of my row sneak into the auditorium that had started the movie 45 minutes after our screening, just to be able to watch some of it again. I was kinda half tempted to follow.

Beginners – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/