Review – Inception [2010]

Before I even start on the review for Inception, I just want to say one thing – this film inspired the topic for NEXT WEEK’s Epitome of Randomness #1 – instead of taking up valuable review time talking about how STALE Hollywood has gotten and why people have literally EMBRACED Inception as the saving grace of the 2010 Summer Movie Season, I’m going to save THAT particular topic for next week. But for now, let’s talk Inception.
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Review – Despicable Me [2010]






Now I know what you’re all thinking, “SportsGuy, why the fuck are you reviewing a KIDS movie here on SuperfriendsUniverse.com, “The Epitome of Manliness”? Well, a couple of reasons – first off, because deep down, every single person on planet Earth enjoys a good, intelligent kids movie once-in-a-while (see: Toy Story 3) and if you can’t admit this then you’re just lying to yourself. Finally, it’s my column, so I’ll review whatever the fuck I want – and I’ll be getting Despicable Me out of the way first since this is probably the one you are all LEAST interested in, so I’ll try to make this as short-and-sweet as possible (but feel free to skip ahead to the Inception review if you must…you soulless bastards…kidding!).


Basic Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: The main character, Gru (voiced brilliantly by Steve Carell) is a super-villain extraordinaire who finds himself getting one-upped out of the “super-villain” business (I guess that’s what you would call it, right?) by up-and-coming super-villain Vector (voiced by Jason Segel). So in order to prove that he still has what it takes to hang with the young super-villains of tomorrow, he decides to stage his greatest heist to date – stealing the Moon! However, everything starts going wrong for him when he adopts 3 orphan girls (I will not spoil why this happens as it’s a semi-important plot detail) and they, little by little, start interfering with his super-villain ways, but (as he ponders throughout the rest of the film) it for the better or for the worst?


The Pros: Despite being billed as a kids movie, this is a film that actually, in my opinion, appeals to more than just kids. Why do I think this? Because a lot of the gags in this film would only be understood to teens/adults, as evidenced by MANY of the gags going RIGHT OVER the kids’ heads, and hearing only “mature” laughter during these moments, which I thought was interesting. Also, it’s an entertaining ENOUGH story that it shouldn’t put anyone  below the age of 80 to sleep in the theater. Finally, the performances by many of the cast, especially Steve Carrell, who like I mentioned earlier, pulled off Gru brilliantly, are not to be underestimated. For a kids movie, they (especially Carrell) seemed to put more effort in getting their character across than I have seen in other kids flicks.

The Cons: For a 95-minute running time, the movie did drag at a few points, which shouldn’t happen for a movie that short. Also, I realize that this is a kids movie, so suspension of disbelief is a necessity when viewing these types of films, but some of the stuff being thrown at me I just could not buy. Don’t get me wrong – the movie is smart when it comes to character development in relation to plot, but there were just some scenes (just s few) that I just couldn’t accept. I know that’s just me nitpicking, but that’s only because there could have been a smarter way to write that scene than what was ultimately shown on screen – and you’ll know exactly which scenes I’m talking about when you see them.

Conclusion: Despicable Me is a fun ride that not only kids, but the entire family can enjoy. While the movie drags at certain points, and it may be hard to suspend disbelief with a couple of select scenes, overall it is a smart film with brilliant voice-acting that should not be overlooked. Recommended for all ages.

Final Score: **** (4/5)

P.S. If you have an iPhone or any mobile phone that can receive the Best Buy Movie Mode app, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – sure, all it can do is translate what the minions are saying at the end of the film, but trust me – you get more out of the film that way – a sort of interactive experience to close out the film – plus, a lot of the translations are PRICELESS – and the app is FREE!


DVD of The Day: Stalag 17 (1953)




Stalag 17


There are two people in this barracks who know I didn’t do it. Me and the guy that did do it.


The Stats


The Director:  Billy Wilder

The Cast:  William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
The Release Date: 1953
The Runtime: 120 Minutes


The Plot


Stuck in a Nazi prison camp, a band of American prisoners of war are constantly trying to escape.  Somehow, their escape attempts are always discovered, leading everyone to believe there’s an informer in their barracks.


The Lowdown


So far in the DVD of the Day, I’ve provided you with some pretty sweet action movies.  Well, this is not an action movie… or at least not until the last few minutes, anyway.


Let’s face facts.  We’re all men here, right?  Well, as men, it’s genetically encoded in our DNA to love movies about World War II.  And while this film isn’t about the actual fighting of the war, it’s still a pretty bad ass movie.


You’ve got a group of American prisoners, captured and being held by evil Nazi scumbags.  They’re POW’s and they’re always trying to escape.  Except after some of their boys get killed in an escape attempt, it leads the remaining soldiers to question if they’ve got an informer in their midst.  Cue:  William Holden (who some of you may remember from ass-kicking The Wild Bunch.)  Holden’s character, Sefton, is a dude that’s constantly trading prison currency (cigarettes, etc.) to become the prison equivalent of Donald Trump.  Sefton is always looking out for himself, even if it means bribing a Nazi guard or two to get his way.


Naturally, the others don’t like Sefton, and finger him as the snitch.  But is he?  The whole movie is based on Sefton’s fellow inmates trying to kick his ass, all the while Sefton is trying to find the true undercover man.


This whole film is suspenseful, and hell, it’s funny too.  I’d almost consider it a great comedy, if it wasn’t also a great prison escape movie.  If you like movies like The Shawshank Redemption and The Great Escape, you gotta watch Stalag 17.  The performances, the suspense and the comedy make it a must-see movie.

Video – AWESOME New Machete Theatrical Trailer

This is the SECOND (though technically third if you count the Grindhouse one) trailer for Robert Rodriguez’ manly ass movie – Machete, coming this September, starring Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Don Johnson, Steven Seagal and much more! I’m excited for this one and am certainly going opening night.



DVD of the Day: Live and Let Die (1973)




Live and Let Die


A man comes. He travels quickly. He has purpose. He comes over water. He travels with others. He will oppose. He brings violence and destruction.


The Stats:


The Director:  Guy Hamilton
The Cast:  Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Seymour, Clifton James, Julius Harris
Release Date: 1973


The Plot


James Bond’s mission:  take down a powerful heroin drug lord with a complex world-wide network, psychics and voodoo at his disposal.


The Lowdown


Unlike previous DVD of the Day entry, Licence to Kill, Live and Let Die is pure and utter campy goofiness.  And you know what?  Ain’t nothing wrong with that.


Each and every Bond, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, has given their own spin and interpretation on the character.  Roger Moore is no different.  Moore’s take on the character is someone with kind of a dark sense of humor, but ultimately all of the Moore Bond films are a little silly and a little campy.  This being the first of the 7 times he played the character, the camp isn’t quite as over-the-top, but it’s still there.


I mean, come on… the 70s was full of Blaxploitation films like Shaft and Superfly, and for some reason, someone at MGM thought it’d be a good idea to make a Bond Blaxploitation film.  The results are kind of hilarious, with the word “Honky” being tossed around like it was going out of business, a voodoo witch doctor, and James Bond running around Harlem… how could you not love this movie?


Live and Let Die marks the beginning of the Moore era.  A lighter, campier, goofier Bond.  But hey, it’s still James Bond.  You still get cool car chases, explosions, hot women and lots of bad guys getting shot.  At the end of the day, isn’t that all you really need from a Bond movie?

DVD of the Day: The Wild Bunch (1969)





The Wild Bunch

We’re not gonna get rid of anybody! We’re gonna stick together, just like it used to be! When you side with a man, you stay with him! And if you can’t do that, you’re like some animal, you’re finished! *We’re* finished! All of us!



The Stats

The Director:  Sam Peckinpah

The Cast:  William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmund O’Brien

Release Date:  1969



The Plot

An aging band of outlaws look for one last big score, but when one of their own gets captured by a corrupt Mexican general, they have to decide what’s more important: money or loyalty.


The Lowdown:

Don’t let the fact that this is an “old” western fool you.  This movie is fucking awesome.  You want violence?  This movie pushed the limits of what you could show in movies.  In 1969, the “R” rating was practically a brand new way of rating movies, and brother, did this film take advantage of it.


Violence.  Hookers. Gun fights. Swearing.  It’s got it all.


If you’re a fan of John Woo movies, you owe it to yourself to watch The Wild Bunch.  Woo was heavily inspired by Sam Peckinpah, and you can tell easily with this film… especially the action sequences.  Peckinpah has a way of shooting violence as if it’s a symphony.  There’s a kind of poetry to blood squirting out of a Mexican’s chest.


Yeah, it’s a western. But it ain’t your daddy’s western.  The Wild Bunch, quite frankly, are a band of degenerate outlaws.  They booze it up, whore it up and shoot it up.  When a big score goes bad, they decide on one final big score.  There’s a catch though when one of their gets captured by General Mapache over a personal vendetta.  The four gunslingers can just take their money and walk away.  But instead, loyalty trumps all.  The shot of these four bad asses marching into town to get their friend back sends chills up your spine.  You just KNOW that some serious shit is about to go down.  And boy does it ever as the Wild Bunch damn near take out half of Mexico.


Hell, this film is worth watching for the last 10 minutes alone.  The gunfight between the Wild Bunch and the Mexican army is one of the most violent and kick ass action sequences ever filmed… especially when you consider that it’s 40 years old at this point.


Watch this movie.




DVD of the Day: License To Kill (1989)




License To Kill

This private vendetta of yours could easily compromise Her Majesty’s government. You have an assignment, and I expect you to carry it out objectively and professionally!

The Stats:

The Director:  John Glen

The Cast:  Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Benicio Del Toro

Release Date: 1989

Run Time:  133 Minutes

The Plot

When CIA operative Felix Leiter is left for dead by vicious drug kingpin, Sanchez, James Bond makes it his personal vendetta to take him down… going so far as becoming a rogue agent.

The Lowdown

All right, I know what you’re thinking.  “Timothy Dalton… really?”  Yes really.  Yes, I will admit he is definitely the weakest of the 6 men to play the ultimate male (no, not Thunderlips), James Bond.  However, License To Kill was one of the grittier entries into this series.  Sean Connery will forever and always BE Bond.  Everyone else is just playing him.  But don’t handicap this movie because Dalton isn’t Bond.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I grew up with Roger Moore as Bond.  And while I loved him as a kid, as an adult I realize that he took the franchise in kind of a silly, gimmicky direction.  Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but I respect what Dalton did with the character.  In Licence to Kill, Bond is a little more believable, a little grittier, a little tougher and a lot more cynical.  In fact, he did what Daniel Craig is currently doing now with the character.  Granted, Craig is a lot better at it, but I digress.  License to Kill doesn’t portray Bond as guy who needs gadgets, but rather as what he’s supposed to be: a highly skilled, cunning, secret agent.  There are one or two cute little Q-Gadgets, but for the most part the movie Bond has to rely on his training and skills.  Furthermore this film features something that is lost in today’s cinema:  STUNTS.  My lord, in a day and age where EVERYTHING is CG’d to death, this film relies on stunt men doing dangerous stunts, on REAL buildings and vehicles exploding.  What a freaking concept!  It looks so much better and cooler when you know that the 18-Wheeler at the end of the film was actually blown up by a stunt coordinator and not a computer geek with a laptop.  One other thing I’d like to point out is the villain of the film, Franz Sanchez.  While Goldfinger, Dr. No, Trevelyan and Blofeld will go down as the most famous Bond villains, it’s a shame that Sanchez gets ignored.  Again, he’s a more realistic villain.  He’s not out to conquer the world or blow up a country, he’s a drug lord out to make money.  Pure and simple.

Anyway, you can hate on Dalton all you want.  Yes, he’s not the best Bond.  But Licence to Kill is a fun, ass-kicking movie with lots of explosions and sweet stunts.  And really, what more can you ask for?