Ocean’s 11

Hey you Filmjerk freakz, wassup. I saw Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s 11” the other night and lemme just say it fucking rocked. Rocked my ass, rocked the house, rocked everything in and out of sight. Clooney is too smooth, Pitt is deadly, and Julia (or The Mouth as my more-than-slightly effeminate editor so loves to call her) is, well, underused in my humble opinion. Now, let me state I am a bigger fan of Schizopolis and old Sods than this new “Erin Brockovich” director, but maybe he’s finally learned to fuse that ultrasmashfuckingcool energy of his into a more mainstream vibe. Must be, because I dug, I dug, I dug this film. So did the rest of the audience. You will dig it. Keep rockin you two and keep chipping away at that fat sellout….!!

Rating: A
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The Score

The basic plot is simple: Nick (Robert De Niro) is an aging thief who wants to get out of the business, but his longtime fence, Max (Marlon Brando), leans on him, convincing him to do one last job – steal a scepter worth $30 million dollars. The problemr Nick must work with Jack (Edward Norton), a young thief who’s “undercover” as a janitor in the building where the scepter is being stored. Complications ensue, and the characters clash. There’s not much in the way of surprises along the way – the thieves have to acquire computer codes, which turns into an elaborate exchange in a public place, and of course, there’s an obligatory and predictable double-cross at the end.

Where I think the movie succeeds is that it creates tension effectively without an excess of danger or violence. No one dies in the film. A couple of folks get beaten up, and a gun is fired 2 or 3 times (as warning shots). There’s an explosion to blow a safe open, and that’s about it for “action.” The tension comes from the presence of the actors, and that’s an impressive feat. De Niro does his now well-worn “aging tough guy” shtick, but no one really does it better, and his chemistry drives the whole film. Norton’s character, unfortunately, is little more than a variation on his (admittedly excellent) work in “Primal Fear.” As part of his “undercover” work, he pretends to be mentally handicapped, and he shifts back and forth between that and his “true” personality effortlessly.

Although De Niro and Norton are strong performers, they dominate the movie to such a degree that other actors don’t make much of an impression. Brando has little more to do than sit there and nod as De Niro delivers his several “but the kid’s a loose cannon!” type speeches, although he gets some nice digs in. Truly wasted is Angela Bassett, as De Niro’s girlfriend, who wants him to get out of the “business.” She shows up in about 4 scenes in the entire film, and I kept waiting for something to happen with her, but nothing does. In fact, none of the supporting performers (except one actor who plays a computer hacker) make any permanent impression whatsoever.

Finally, I want to briefly address the thing that scared me most going in. The film is directed by Frank Oz, whose filmography consists mostly of very good, but very light comedies. As dark as he’s gotten is “Dark Crystal” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” He pulls the film off with admirable aplomb, especially considering how dark the film is (lots of it takes places in sewers, basements, and dark hallways.) I hope this is his first step toward branching out as a filmmaker.

To sum up: “The Score” is a decent flick – not a spectacular one, but it’s nonetheless worth seeing, and it’s certainly a pleasant respite from a movie season that’s (at least thus far) been far more about big movies with flashy explosions and cool special effects than it has been about smaller films with strong performances from great actors.

Rating: B
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Scary Movie 2

With seven writers attached to this screenplay, you would seriously hope they could come up with something funny… and they did. From ripping off movies to TV shows and commercials, to just about everything else, you’d think they would eventually run out of material; nope. Okay, so I admit there were some parts I didn’t understand. Then there were also parts that simply weren’t funny at all. Either because they tried too hard for the joke, or the bit was just played out.

For example: Chris Elliott’s character proceeds to screw a turkey. Now, we all obviously know where that’s from. In another part, two characters race around in wheelchairs similar to the motorcycle scene from “MI:2.” Boring. On a happier note, rip offs which I thought were great were the Nike basketball commercial and the whole intro to the movie using “The Exorcist.” James Woods is just brilliant.

All in all, you want some laughs, you want to have a good time, you want to see most of the world made fun of, check out “Scary Movie 2.” Even being the poor white boy I am I still laughed throughout the whole thing.

Rating: A-
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A.I.

The beginning wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was probably the best part. Telling the story about AI robots and what they are about. AI robots don’t feel love. So David is created. The first AI child who can love. A family who is losing their son to some disease becomes the first test parents for David. As luck would have it, their real son’s disease magically goes away and he comes back home. David and the real son soon start a sibling rivalry. The mother then freaks out (for some unknown reason) cause she can’t handle the AI robot. She takes him out to the woods and leaves him. Nice.

The next two hours of the movie is David searching for the Blue Fairy from the fairy tale Pinocchio. He believes the story is real and that the Blue Fairy can make him into a real boy so his adoptive parents will love him. It’s fairly boring, with the exception for Jude Law’s character; an robot male gigolo. Although I didn’t like his character and thought it didn’t fit well with the rest of the movie, he gave a good performance.

Near the end David finds out the secret behind his creation in that he was simply a test robot for a new product. They are mass producing other David’s, as well as a female counterpart, for parents who are unable to have children of their own. David then freaks out and now is on an even stronger mission to find the Blue Fairy.

Something stupid ends up happening and we find out the entire thing was planned by aliens eons ago. Wait, did I miss something herer What the hell do aliens have to do with this movier Spielberg really pissed me off with this one. Having to dig up the aliens once more. That’s it. I’m done. Movies that have nothing to do with aliens that suddenly become movies that have to do with aliens piss me off.

Rating: D-
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The Princess and the Warrior

Sissi (Franka Potente) was developed well until a rather unusual situation regarding her “pleasuring” a patient at the mental ward made me somewhat noxious. This situation was even more revolting after certain facts became apparent later in the film. After that point she seemed to be a rather weak figure that I quickly lost interest in. She is continually drawn to Bodo (Benno Furmann) after he saves her life, even though he is abusive towards her after their initial encounter.

The initial lifesaving measure made by Bodo was rather coincidental. He is running from store employees who are giving chasing him, and suddenly he decides to hide under a truck in the middle of the road.This just happens to be the truck that Sissi was hit by and was underneath, why on earth would someone hide under a vehicle in the middle of the roadr Hiding under a potential moving vehicle is hardly a good idea. Even if he had noticed that it wasn’t going to be moving, why go under a vehicle that everyone is staring at if you are trying to elude your chasers.

“The Princess and the Warrior” reeked of coincidences, which were used over and over to tie up nearly every loose end. When used properly an occasional coincidence can add a great deal of intrigue and interest to the story, but when overused like they were in this movie it gets very old.

Perhaps if this movie had been directed by a slimy fuck like Rob Cohen, it could be seen as an accomplishment for the filmmaker. But Cohen didn’t direct it. Tom Tykwer did, and after his work in “Run Lola Run,” this is a disappointment. It was unable to hold my interest, and I found myself wishing for it to end sooner than later.

Rating: D
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The Fast and the Furious

I mean, how many times have we seen the old ‘undercover cop comes to like the guy he’s gotta bring in’ storyr Not only that, but “The Fast & The Furious” brings absolutely nothing new to that story. Except maybe flashier cars that go a hell of a lot faster than in the other films.

As for the acting, let’s just say there are no Oscar contenders here. But then, everybody knows that anyway! Vin Diesel does a great job of the tough but likeable bad guy role, while Michelle Rodriguez & Jordana Brewster both do decent jobs (despite having such flat characters) as Vin’s girlfriend and sister, respectively. On the other side of the coin, however, we have Paul Walker – a seeming graduate of the Keanu Reeve’s school of acting, or as I like to call it – sufficient lack of talent. I found his scenes to be almost painful to watch, particularly when Vin wasn’t there to save the day.

All in all “The Fast & The Furious” is what you make it. For some it will be an enjoyable action movie with fast cars, while for others it will be a mind-numbing exercise in stupidity. Just make sure you gauge it wisely. A great reference would be “Gone In 60 Seconds,” if you liked it, you should like “The Fast & The Furious,” if you don’t like it, well then definitely don’t lay you’re money down for this.

Prognosis: matinee or second run theater.

Rating: C-
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