(Pop) Culture Shock

It comes in waves

Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Category

In 30 Minutes or Less you’ll wish you’d seen Planet of the Apes

Posted by emzkbd on August 22, 2011

Yes it’s Bachelor Monday! But here in the Midwest, we’re watching da Bears lose horribly instead of relishing the deviance of Bachelor Pad contestants. So instead of staying up until midnight to watch the re-broadcast, I’ll be bringing a Bachelor Pad recap tomorrow! Hope you can wait because I’m so antsy that I’m sure to dream sequence my own rose ceremony, complete with a buck naked Micheal Stagliano.

I fell a little behind in my theater ventures. Two weekends past, I caught 30 Minutes or Less. I thought, hey, I enjoyed Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of a cocky, coordinated Zuckerberg in The Social Network, and I was eager to see what he would bring next after such subtly comedic performances in Adventureland and Zombieland. Not to mention, I was hoping to point out the similarities between my part-time pizza delivering boyfriend and Eisenberg’s pot-smoking speedster who’ll have a pizza pie at your doorstep in, yep, you guessed it, 30 minutes or less. I expected Super Bad-esque shenanigans in between drop-offs, especially with Aziz Ansari mouthing off about Eisenberg’s character Nick sleeping with his sister. Nope, limited hijinks, and even fewer quotable one-liners… if any. Packing the action, if you can call it that, into a film that’s not even three times the bake time in its title, you’ll be glad it’s short because it’s such a waste of time. Shoulda called it Wasteland!

In a nut shell, two white trash dumbells, played by Danny McBride and Nick Swardson, decide to force Nick to rob a bank, by strapping a bomb to his chest, so that they can hire an assassin to kill McBride’s millionaire pops. Neither of these two comedians bring any heat in the kitchen. I was waiting for their moronic thought proceses to evoke laughter, but instead all I got was a bunch of pubescent sex chatter. Talk about a cockslap in the face!

So as I suggested by the title, we weren’t too far into this film before we realized we should have seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which we heard had gotten good reviews, but come on, the Mark Wahlberg re-boot was bad enough. All these filmmakers think they can make these classic films bigger, better… more bad ass. Otherwise, I swear they must be thinking, let’s tell the story that’s not been told. Ok, I follow you… and then there it is–a prequel! As if Hollywood couldn’t get any more predictable, they expect us to pay $10 and watch what we already know. Of course the apes are gonna win out in this one, and yet, I still paid for it.

Call me curious, but I wanted to see how a relationship between James Franco and Freida Pinto would work out through an ape invasion. These two didn’t have much chemistry, but it didn’t matter. They don’t freak like monkeys, so she might as well have been his adopted Indian sister. And is it just me or did she have like three lines in the entire movie? “Oh no Will, the apes are coming! Hold me and kiss me with a passionate gentleness that makes interracial dating look less awkward?”

Most of the movie, I felt like playing therapist to Franco’s Will, whose father has Alzheimer’s. Dude, you can’t play god! Did we not learn anything from 28 Days Later (they tested on chimps, too)? But he perseveres onward, hoping to discover a cure for the disease but ends up caring for the orphaned chimp Caesar who’s been passed the effects of one of Will’s test strains through birth. Caesar is a smart chimp… so much so that I would trade his infant self for half the people I work with on a day to day basis. I tell ya, it has to be easier to work with animals who fling their fecal matter and pick insects from their mates’ hair.

I think the most appealing part of the film is watching Caesar evolve in such a short period of time. Forget the tearful plot points involving Will’s sick father played by John Lithgow, whose mind first improves from the side effects of the same drug but then rapidly degrades as the plot unfolds. It’s the chimps you really sympathize with!! They’re caged and treated poorly, like most of the young married wives I know. Just kidding!

And poor Tom Felton! It’s going to take awhile for him to escape the villianous typecast of Draco Malfoy. Such a cruel, cruel boy! He doesn’t wield a wander, but he is sure an angry twentysomething with his electro-shocking taser. Just like in the Harry Potter franchise, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for this kid to get knocked sideways. And all I wanted was one snithering “Potter” from his sweet boyishly man lips. I guess “filthy primates” will have to do!

So in the end, the bad people get what’s coming for them–the pseudo-bank-robbing, blackmailer bombadeers blow up in an hour and 30 minutes or less (trust me, I saved you from a worthless ending) and the apes take down their arch nemesis, a.k.a. a money-hungry black businessman, on their way to the redwood forest. To ask the controversial question, I don’t understand why the filmmakers decided to cast an African American as the villain, seeings that I’m sure he had ancestors who were once enslaved against their will just like the apes are here. No I’m not racial profiling or suggesting the filmmakers included token minorities in supporting roles. I think there’s some metaphorical foreshadowing there–apes make it big in the big city and then enslave the whole human race? Gee, I can’t imagine that’s what happens. I guess I’ll have to wait for the sequel, I mean remake, hopefully NOT starring Markie Mark again.


Posted in Movie Reviews | 1 Comment »


Posted by emzkbd on August 9, 2011

No, it’s not another Jersey Shore acronym.

I’m talking about Crazy, Stupid, Love and why you’ll be one of three things if you don’t see it: crazy, stupid, or completely loveless.

It’s my first time back as critic, cynic, and sensationalist, so I’ll do what I do best. Go see this movie before you waste any more money on another Katherine Heigl rom-com. I should know; I see a lot of movies, mainly because I have this innate desire to escape and pretend I’m Ryan Gosling’s love thing. And whether he’s Noah or Jacob, shirt or no shirt, he always knows how to make a girl feel special. But seriously, a good romantic comedy with real chemistry and emotion is hard to find, and I didn’t need Entertainment Weekly to tell me that.

Most of my movie reviews tend to get a stamp of approval, but that doesn’t mean it changed my life. Doesn’t mean that this one will change yours, or mine for that matter. They’re usually worthy of the obligatory remark: “It was entertaining!” Because let’s face it, an hour and a half escape from our superbly meaningless lives will probably be just that. The Proposal was entertaining; The Ugly Truth was entertaining; Love Happens was torture. So it’s refreshing when something like CSL hits the big screen and makes you think.

Well, those of you who know me, know that I’m not a middle-aged soon-to-be divorcee. Try half that age and enjoying a seemingly successful shot at love in a sometimes oddly constructed relationship. So I’m not an expert, but I like to think I’m getting there. I am the byproduct of a 35 year fruitful marriage… although I don’t know if I want to equate fruit with my parents’ marriage or contemplate the logistics of creating said byproduct. Anyway, I’m here, and I know what it’s like to fall in love and have your heartbroken. CSL shows us old love finding its way back, young love springing from innocence, and new love taking chances.

Steve Carrell mimics his role from Dan in Real Life, as Cal, an average guy experiencing real pain with a touch of humor. His wife Emily played by Julianne Moore isn’t sure what she wants any more, except for a divorce. I feel that Moore never deviates too far from her genres. Someone else may have been able to step into this role and nail it, but for right now, Moore can surely pull off an angsty, uncertain wife /mother figure, which comes as a surprise since she doesn’t have an Oscar yet.

Needless to say, this couple’s dynamic points out their obvious mistake–that the married young and got boring. Did I say mistake? I meant premature life choice. And what about cheating? I don’t know about you, but I personally think school education needs to point out the repercussions of cheating beyond plagiarizing an English essay. It should be mandatory for schools to teach relationship etiquette, and I don’t mean gym, which for those who still have it serves as social hour. I deviate, but cheating says a lot about a person’s character (duh!). But here, it plays the catalyst to improvement in the relationship. Go figure! Cheaters of the twenty-first century just realized how this could work to their advantage.

In a more lighthearted atmosphere, playboy Jacob (Ryan Gosling) uses suave charms on law student Hannah (Emma Stone), who isn’t biting. Hannah, like Emily, doesn’t know what she wants, so she plays it safe with her doofy boyfriend, played by an uber-doofy Josh Groban. Like him, the film boasts an excellent array of supporting cast members, like Kevin Bacon, Marisa Tomei, and up-and-comer Liza Lapira, who are primed and ready for comic relief amid the serious relationship issues.

Maybe I still haven’t convinced you, so here’s another shot! Gosling’s abs are so not photo-shopped as Stone jokes in the trailer. All the more reason this movie should have been in 3D. That and his locker room/sauna scenes where Carrell is strategically blocking his crazy sexy schlong would have been worth the virtual cockslap in the face. He looks good in a suit, too.

So is it the best movie of the year? I would put it in my top ten, and I’d definitely like to see it get some Oscar buzz. I can already hear my best friend asking if I got a little weepy? Well as someone who is ripe in the woes of PMS, I can tell you I didn’t bawl like I do during an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Instead, I felt for these characters in ways that tears couldn’t show. Blah blah blah, don’t let that deter you because I laughed a lot more, especially when Gosling drops a few pick-up lines. And dare I say predictable? Nah, these characters have a lot of spontaeity that you wouldn’t expect from regular rom-coms, and even though I was told there was a twist, I still couldn’t help but wonder how it would all unfold. Who ends up in love? Who goes all crazy? Will Gosling take off his shirt again? These are questions I won’t spoil because that’s just plain stupid.

Posted in Movie Reviews | 1 Comment »