Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Short List Of Movies Or Films Without Full Reviews: part 16

As a lover of cinema, I watch a lot of stuff. Sadly, I don't have the time, energy or even desire to write reviews for everything I see. Rather than to just continue to let these movies sit on a list, I've decided to post them here with a rating and maybe a little word or two. If you trust my judgement or agree with me on my decisions, then maybe this will be helpful to you in finding some keen new stuff to watch. I think it will also free up my mind a bit to see a much shorter list of things to review in the future. That being said, here we go!


Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World

I just watched this with the family today. We own the other three and the kids love them and I can't hate, as they're done by Robert Rodriguez. So, until the kids can watch 'El Mariachi' or 'Desperado' or 'From Dusk Till Dawn', these will have to do. Now, he hasn't done all the greatest movies ever, but they are usually pretty fun and sometimes that's okay. This installment in the franchise, seems to be an attempt to update it and bring it back for another group of kids growing up. It has a little something for everyone and a lot of the same appeal of the other 3. Sadly, not all of the original cast members come back, but a good chunk are in the house. I found it to be fun and silly, that's about it. Also, Joel McHale is never a bad thing. If you're looking for something safe for the kids, with a decent message.... this one is right up your alley. The only thing I would warn you against is a lot of poop and puke. 3 out of 5 stars



Good god, this is garbage. So much wasted talent in this little piece of hell. I tried and tried to find something good in this movie. But after watching it all the way through until the end, I'm sorry I ever bothered. Stay away from this one like the plague! 0 out of 5 stars.


The Dictator

I love Sacha Baron Cohen. I think he's got a lot of talent and is a damn funny guy. When I first heard about 'The Dictator', I had high hopes. Now, this wasn't on par with his earlier work.... but it's not as bad as everyone says. No one person can make gold every time they create something. He tried something a little new and it came out feeling re-hashed and uninspired. If you're bored on a rainy Sunday and this comes on, you could do worse than to watch it. You could be watching 'Inkubus' instead. Ugh. 3 out of 5 stars. By the way, what the heck happened to Anna Faris? I used to be a fan and now, I'm kind of losing interest.


The Thing (2011)

Well, I've seen the John Carpenter version, but I never saw the original 'The Thing From Another World' by Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby. All I knew about this movie was that it was a prequel to the Carpenter version, which I was never really keen on in the first place. Everyone holds it in such high regard, but I guess I just never got it. Not that it was a bad movie, it just never sparked an interest with me. This version was more of the same. I never really cared about anything that was going on and within the first half of an hour, I'd kind of tuned out. There was nothing in this movie that made me want to watch it. Never the less, I stayed until the end and forgot everything I'd seen by the time I deleted it from my queue. There is a lot of time and money spent on this one, but not much substance for all that effort. 2 out of 5 stars.


The Three Stooges (2011)

When I was growing up, I used to love to watch 'The Three Stooges'. A big part of that appeal, was the way people used to talk down on it. Either for the violence or the sheer stupidity of it. That never stopped me from enjoying their antics. When I caught wind of this remake being tossed around, I was concerned about how it would turn out. When I heard the Farrelly's were at the helm, I felt a little better. After watching this one with my kids and re-living my childhood all over with them, I came away with a smile. Not that this was really all that good, but they paid attention to the details of the original source material and brought it back to life. It's design, script, stunts, actors and presentation all smacked of the original Stooges themselves. I can't say too much bad about this, as if you were going in to see it for any other reason than to laugh at their stupidity.... then you were probably not a fan to begin with. This isn't the best comedy of the year, but it's nostalgic brain candy for slapstick buffs. 3 out of 5 stars.


I Ain't Scared Of You: A Tribute To Bernie Mac

A documentary about Bernic Mac, how could you miss with this? Sadly, he left us all too soon. I'm happy that they took the time to pay tribute to his life, but I think that they could have done a bit more with this movie. It felt rushed and pieced together. There are lots of good things here, but unless you're a fan.... it may miss the mark for casual viewers or those uninitiated to Mr. Mac. That is all. 3 out of 5 stars.


Color Me Kubrick

This is kind of an interesting story, emphasis on "kind of". Everyone in this movie does the best they can with the source material, but sadly.... it's just not an overly intriguing tale to tell. I'm not sure why it felt to darn flat, but it did. There was nothing amazing here and nothing awful. It's kind of like wanting a hot bath and only getting a warm one. Rather than watch this Malkovich driven movie, watch his 2008 tale, 'The Great Buck Howard'. It's a much better, much more interesting story that's based on a real person. 3 out of 5 stars.


The Smurfs

I wonder what Pierre Culliford aka Peyo, would think of this take on his creation, 'The Smurfs'? His brainchild was a huge part of my childhood and I can't say that I was happy to hear that they were updating them for a new audience. There's no room for me to argue the point against it, as I've stood behind many other reboots and new remakes of old material. The fact that it was such a big part of my childhood, just creates more bias than normal. Now, the movie itself was okay. There's nothing really good here and after it was over, I never wanted to see it again. They did what they thought was the right thing with the original source material, but it came out all wrong. The Smurfs felt strange, the humans seemed off putting and Gargamel was downright bad. If you really want your nostalgia kept in tact, then stick the original cartoons. If you want to feel dirty after an hour and a half of CGI Smurfs, then watch this. Not awful, but not good. 2 out of 5 stars. Even NPH couldn't save the day.


21 Jump Street

Here's another example of nostalgia that's being mined for fun and profit. The big difference between this and other similar attempts is that this one, is actually DAMN hilarious! If you are a die hard fan of the original series, you may find some trouble watching this updated version. But if you loved the series like I did (even through the Grieco years) and never took it too seriously, than this will hit your sweet spot. This is not so much a remake as a continuation. All the elements of the original series are here, but it's not the same cast of characters. There is so many good things here to talk about, however, it's best if you just watch it for yourself. Also, the smartest thing they did with this movie was to make it a stand alone piece for people who've never heard of '21 Jump Street'. It's actually one of the funniest comedies I've seen in a long time and that's leaving all the nostalgia out of the equation. This is funny because it's well written and well done. Nothing more, nothing less. I laughed out loud a lot during this movie and that's no small thing for me. I highly recommend this for anyone who loves a good comedy, but be warned.... there's lots of swearing and that just adds to the humor. 4 out of 5 stars easily.


The Living And The Dead

This is not an easy film to watch and probably not the best way to end this compilation of reviews. This film is dark, depressing and sad. The characters and lost and broken. This is the kind of film that sticks with you, long after the credits roll. It can be a bit jumbled at times, but if you're willing to put in the effort to watch it.... you will be rewarded with fine film making. Mental illness has never been portrayed quite like this. Nothing bad to say here, 4 out of 5 stars.

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