RETRO-Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles [1990]

In celebration of Turtles Week here at SuperfriendsUniverse.com, I will be reviewing a TMNT film each day, starting today (Wednesday – in conjunction with tonight’s broadcast of Superfriends) and ending on Saturday with the latest film, the CGI-based TMNT. But for right now, let’s start at the beginning…

More

Details about X-Men: First Class from Bryan Singer

We’ve been waiting for a new X-Men film for quite some time now, including the infamous Magneto solo film, but Bryan Singer, director of X-Men and X-Men 2: X-Men United, is dishing out some secrets about the story of the film:


-The movie is set in the 1960s. JFK is President.

-Charles Xavier will have hair and use of his legs (mostly).

-The Hellfire Club are the antagonists, with Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, and January Jones as Emma Frost (which means they are indeed ignoring the character as established in WOLVERINE).

-Costumes will be more “comic bookish” than previous mutant movies.

-No Cyclops or Jean Grey. But there are still MORE characters we haven’t heard about yet.

-The movie will have “a much more international feel than the prior X-MEN movies.”



I hope its good. You can read the entire article here.

DVD of the Day: The Kingdom (2007)




The Kingdom


Don’t fear them, my child. We are going to kill them all.


The Stats
The Director:  Peter Berg
The Cast:  Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman, Jeremy Piven
The Release Date: 2007
The Runtime: 110 Minutes


The Plot

After a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia kills one of their own, four FBI agents head to foreign territory and try to investigate what truly went down

The Lowdown

In the post 9/11 world there have been a good deal of films released about terrorism. Some movies take it really seriously and are depressing as hell. Others take the pure action route. The Kingdom falls somewhere in the middle. This film succeeds in being both a political “message” kind of movie, but also has some pretty sweet action sequences.


On top of that, though, the film is also a “police procedural” as well. Once the FBI agents get to Saudi Arabia, it follows their process and investigation to find out just what the hell blew up their friend, and who was responsible for it. And it tops it all off with an incredible action/chase sequence that is incredibly suspenseful. One of the agents is kidnapped and is about to be executed on camera… can the rest of the team get there in time to save him? Pretty tense shit right there.


The film is incredibly well cast as well. Foxx really dials down his normal tendencies to over perform and delivers a really kind of stoic, bad-ass performance. Chirs Cooper and Jason Bateman are pretty much great in anything they do. Jennifer Garner isn’t great, she’s not bad, but not great either. However, she’s hot… so can you really complain? The only real complaint about the cast is Jeremy Piven who is playing the same character he plays in everything he’s ever done.


Don’t be afraid that this movie is going to preach to you. It won’t. At the end of the day it does have a “message,” but it’s not over the top. But if that kind of stuff does bother you, you still get a really good action thriller.

DVD of the Day: Inside Man (2006)




Inside Man


Fact is, all lies, all evil deeds, they stink. You can cover them up for a while, but they don’t go away.


The Stats
The Director:  Spike Lee

The Cast:  Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer
The Release Date: 2006
The Runtime: 129 Minutes


The Plot

Four masked criminals take control of a bank in the middle of New York City and it’s up to Denzel Washington to take them down. But what are they REALLY after?

The Lowdown

Spike Lee can be kind of an annoying little turd. There, I said it. Sometimes the shit that comes out of his mouth makes you want to slap him. But God damn it, he makes great movies.


Inside Man is a heist film. And we all love heist films, right? They’re a hell of a lot of fun. But this one is different. While the ultimate goal for these bank robbers is to make money, they’re also out to prove a point. What that point is, well, we’d enter into spoiler territory if I revealed that. Needless to say, this isn’t your average heist flick. In most heist flicks you see the “band” getting put together, you see the planning, and finally you see the execution. This isn’t anything like that. Spike Lee just throws you in the middle of this thing and the whole time you and Denzel are trying to figure out exactly what the balls is going on.


Which leads me to the performances. Denzel isn’t doing anything he hasn’t done before in his movies. He’s a cop with an edge, but he’s really charming and kind of a cocky douche. We’ve seen him do this multiple times. Clive Owen ain’t breaking any new ground either. Bad ass Brit with a gun that’s cool under pressure? Been there and done that. But you know what? It’s still entertaining as hell to watch them play off each other. The movie rounds things off with a good cast in Jodie Foster and Christopher Plummer as well.


This film is fun as hell, and the whole time it keeps you thinking “How the hell are they going to get away with it?” And when everything is revealed at the end… brilliant.


Listen, don’t take my word for it. Go rent it.

Review – Dinner for Schmucks [2010]






Basic Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Tim Conrad (played by Paul Rudd) is an ambitious executive who, after securing a negotiation (and the potential business) of Swiss mogul Mueller (played by David Walliams), is invited by his boss to what is known within the company as the monthly “dinner for winners,” (Tim later learns that it is more accurately a “dinner for idiots”) in which each invitee must find a “unique person with a special talent” and bring them to the dinner – the most unique of the bunch is declared the “winner” and the executive who brings him/her secures bragging rights among his peers. The next afternoon, Tim meets Barry Speck (played by Steve Carell) after accidentally running him over. After getting to know Barry’s weird antics and hobbies, he invites him to the dinner the following evening. But as Tim gets to know Barry, he starts having second thoughts as to whether he should go through with the dinner at all…


The Pros: Once again, Steve Carell comes through with a performance that is not only noteworthy, but one that single-handedly SAVED this film. However, while his performance was most definitely exceptional, it was a contributing factor as to why I didn’t like the film all that much (more on that later). Slowly but surely, Steve Carell is becoming one of Hollywood’s “go-to” guys for any and every role – he currently has TWO films in the Top 5 at the box office – Schmucks and Despicable Me – films that appeal to two VERY different audiences. Anyway, back to the pros – there were a few hilarious lines in this film that I’m sure I’ll hear at least once before the end of the year (“I thought the clitoris was in her purse”). Finally, Stephanie Szostak, the chick who played Julie (Tim’s girlfriend) in the film – TOTAL BABE.


The Cons: First off, I was very disappointed that the Paul Rudd of old was nowhere to be found here. Now granted, I understand that he was trying to play a more serious character, but in my opinion, the guy simply came off as very unlikeable – even in scenes where the audience is SUPPOSED to like and sympathize with him. Secondly, the pacing of the film was WAY OFF (the aforementioned “dinner” does not take place until near the end of the film). Next, a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of the comedy came off forced and unfunny – in fact, there were LONG periods in this film where I found myself sitting on my hands NOT laughing, and asking myself, “isn’t this supposed to be a comedy?” And when I finally DID laugh, it was at Steve Carell, which is the final gripe I had about the film. Not to take away from Carell’s performance at all, since like I stated above, I think he SAVED this film, HOWEVER, I think this film sent a very mixed message as far as how we are supposed to react to these so-called “schmucks.” Throughout the entire film, we are subjected to the Barry character’s bizarre antics, to the point where the film is expecting us to laugh at him. Yet, at the end of the film (not to give anything away, but it is fairly OBVIOUS how it all ends), the audience is indirectly chastised for laughing at these “schmucks” when THE FILM HAS BEEN DOING EVERYTHING BUT MAKING US DO IT FOR THE PAST HOUR-AND-A-HALF.


Conclusion: I had high expectations going into Dinner for Schmucks, and those expectations were somewhat let down. While the film looks like your standard buddy-comedy fare from the outside, it’s actually a film that really doesn’t know whether it wants to be pro-or-anti-“schmuck” – in other words, lacking an consistent identity (much like TNA Wrestling, but that’s another issue altogether). Yet, through that mess, Steve Carell delivers YET ANOTHER terrific performance that gives life to what would otherwise have been a mundane character. Recommended for Steve Carell fans only – otherwise, WAIT FOR THE DVD.




Final Score: *** (3/5)




Look out for my review of Salt, starring Angelina Jolie, tomorrow afternoon (8/05).


Until then, I’m out!