Month: April 2012

EuroTrip

Year: 2004
Directed By: Jeff Schaffer, Alec Berg, and David Mandel
Written By: Jeff Schaffer, Alec Berg, and David Mandel

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a really stupid movie but I have always enjoyed it and it still makes me laugh.  It is pretty similar to Road Trip, which came out four years prior. I think this movie does just enough to set itself apart and make it memorable, for me anyways.  I know a guy from high school who looks exactly like Matt Damon in this movie, and he is the lead singer of a band now.  I love that song he sings “Scotty doesn’t know,” it stays with me for days.  Otherwise there isn’t much more worth mentioning here, mediocre cast in the leading roles with the support of several big names in cameos. Aside from Damon, Lucy Lawless, Vinnie Jones, Fred Armisen, Diedrich Bader, and the incredibly funny Jeffrey Tambor appear in cameo roles. They all came together for this movie and were very funny. In the lead cast Jacob Pitts was exceptionally funny and I will always remember him from this movie. The others were funny as well but have done little else with their careers. This is a quick and pointless movie so if you know that going in I think it is worth your time.  It’s a funny movie that I always enjoy seeing, but nevertheless it doesn’t deserve much more than this as far as a review goes.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Watch it! Simple and hilarious.

NEXT MOVIE: Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Year: 2004
Directed By: Michel Gondry
Written By: Charlie Kaufman

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is one of the most interesting films I have ever seen, if not the most interesting. It is like no other movie ever, a true original delivered by one of the most out of the box writers out there.  Charlie Kaufman is on another level when it comes to writing – he is a genius.  This movie is a great example of how imaginative and different he is; it is such a crazy movie. He is more known for his other films like Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, but this has always been my favorite of his films, with Adaptation being an extremely close second. On the DVD cover Peter Travers of Rolling Stones magazine is quoted describing this movie as “A smart, sexy, and seriously funny comedy.” That leads me to wonder if he actually saw the film.  I would hardly call it funny at all much less describe it as “a seriously funny comedy.” This movie is about love and loss, pain and heartache, and the emotional roller coaster relationships tend to be.  I find myself having difficulty trying to categorize it because it is so different than everything else. I considered leaving it as a lone “uncategorized” film before settling on just creating a new category for “love story,” but never once considered placing it in comedy.

This movie is more like a journey than a story. It’s a journey through the mind and memory that is made perfectly.   Charlie Kaufman really outdid himself with this one, and Michel Gondry did an excellent job funneling Kaufman’s ideas onto the screen. I am not familiar with Gondry but this movie alone makes me interested in anything else he has ever made.  He had a great cast to work with on this film as well.  I have always been a fan of Jim Carrey’s efforts to take more serious roles and I think this is his best one. He does an excellent job in this movie and he deserves more recognition for the role.  Opposite Carrey was Kate Winslet, who is such a wonderful actress.  She is beautiful even with those awful colors died in her hair and she brings her talents to the screen in top form.  She is probably one of the most natural actresses I have ever watched and she has the ability to really bring a character to life in unique ways.  Kirsten Dunst is on hand in this movie as well with a great scene where she is braless in a tank top.  I have always admired Dunst, although I think her greatest performance was her first one, when she was a little girl in Interview with a Vampire. Dunst doesn’t do enough movies of late and that is a shame, I have liked many of her films.  Elijah Wood was trying to distance himself from the role of Frodo Baggins around this time to avoid being typecast but I think he made a mistake choosing this one.  He plays such a creepy guy that I think it hurt his image. He then went on to play an even creepier guy in Sin CityI think Tom Wilkinson brought a lot to the film with his role as the doctor who specializes in erasing unwanted memories. Mark Ruffalo did a decent job but nothing distinguishing and I haven’t figured out quite what people see in him as an actor.

This movie has such an interesting story and we can all relate to it.  Who hasn’t been through a messy break-up they would love to forget.  Who hasn’t lost a loved one and been overwhelmed by the grief and heartache? When Carrey’s character finds out what his ex has done it hurts him, he feels the pain of that loss and can’t live with it.  He decides to go through the same procedure and realizes in the middle of it that he made a horrible mistake.  When we exit relationships the reasons for the break-up are the freshest things on our mind and it seems like erasing them would be an easy decision.  It comes with a cost though, Carrey soon gets to the memories that made him fall in love with Winslet and he isn’t willing to sacrifice those. He desperately does everything he can in order to save the love of his life from being erased but ultimately fails, sort of. I think the overall theme of the movie is that true love finds a way, and it does as we see.  Sometimes certain people belong together.  Relationships are a rocky business and they can sometimes take all our strength to persevere.  I think it takes an understanding of that in order to make a relationship work, and all too often people aren’t lucky enough to figure it out.

This movie taught me a lot about love, and even more about relationships.  In an interesting way it has always had a strange ability to make me fall so much more in love with my wife and that makes me appreciate it even more.  This movie doesn’t hold a spot in my favorites of all time but I do think it is one of the most amazing films I have ever seen.  I love this movie and encourage anybody I can to see it.  I know very few people who have seen it though so I would like to take the opportunity to encourage anybody that reads this to go out of their way to see it.  It starts off kind of slow but quickly turns into something completely different, it is an awesome movie that is more than worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Ah, finally. We get to my list of all-time favorite movies. This is in my top five. I love this movie with all of my heart. I asked myself what I would say about this strange, original movie and here is what I think. I am not a huge fan of romantic comedies. I don’t really like the same ol’ same ol’ storyline that you can practically predict. Instead, I like the movie that shows what love is really like. This movie is a love story, but not in the classic way. It is a love story in a true way. The way that real love is nuts. You do things you never thought possible when you are in love. Love is absurd and makes people nuts. This film shows that.

This movie always makes me love Ryan more than I already do. I know how we were at first. All crazy in love. If there were such a technology such as memory erasing, we both would have done it already. But, in my heart I know without doubt we would find our way back together, somehow. It’s sappy, but it’s true. I love this movie so much because it reminds me how much I love Ryan.

Of course I think you should watch this film if you haven’t already. It is clever and witty and includes all the little details that make a movie worth watching and re-watching.

NEXT MOVIE: EuroTrip (2004)

Equilibrium

Year: 2002
Directed By: Kurt Wimmer
Written By: Kurt Wimmer

RYAN’S REVIEW

I think in 1999 Kurt Wimmer saw The Matrix, and shortly after suddenly figured out how to put the finishing touches on his futuristic 1984like story that he was writing.  I saw something in this film when I was in college, but I found the opening sequence a little silly this time around. As the movie has progressed I haven’t been able to get into it at all and have found it all a bit much. I think I must have bought this movie in the aftermath of Batman Begins when I was on an exaggerated Christian Bale kick.  That or maybe when I was younger the gun fu was more appealing, but this time around it just isn’t enough.

Christian Bale does have his moments in this movie but overall I think his character was more than obvious throughout most of the film.  The obvious nature of his character doesn’t really go along with the story well and in fact makes the whole thing impractical altogether. What I mean is, in this society where nobody feels, every single person in that society would notice the minute that Bale’s character began to do so. He is running through the streets, looking dolefully at puppies, weeping when he hears music the first time, and even breaking down crying in the streets of the city. It doesn’t matter what is practical with a movie like this though, it’s only good for the action sequences.  Sean Bean is wasted in this movie; he is an awesome actor and should have gotten a larger part.  Taye Diggs just isn’t any good in this one. He spends most of the movie overacting but he has a great ending. The rest of the cast wasn’t necessarily impressive either and that doesn’t help the film out any.

Christian Bale kills 118 people in this movie, giving him the third highest death count of all time in a movie.  Most of those 118 come in the climax at the end of the movie, but that’s about the only thing that makes this movie memorable. I did not enjoy watching it this time around and don’t know any more if it even belongs in our collection at all. By the end of this one the whole story just seems stupid and a revolution is covered in a matter of seconds after the climax.  I like certain things about this movie like the action and the style, but that all seems like a rip off from The Matrix. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anybody at this point and don’t think it is even worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Oh Christian Bale. He is one of those actors that I really would never like to meet because he just seems to not really be a nice person in real life. But, he is also one of those incredible actors, and I have to admit that he is awesome even though I really don’t like him. (Unlike Ryan. He won’t watch a thing with Sean Penn in it.) I like this film okay. I seem to really get in to anything that is set in a different time on Earth. I like to see what people can come up with. I think it could be really hard for us to imagine a world without feelings, art, books among anything that provokes a feeling. It has action, intrigue and mystery. I like that in a movie. If you haven’t seen it, it’s an okay pick.

NEXT MOVIE: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Enter the Dragon

Year: 1973
Directed By: Robert Clouse
Written By: Michael Allin

RYAN’S REVIEW

When I was in college I wrote a research paper on this movie and on Bruce Lee.  It has long since been a favorite of mine and I love watching it. Like any other guy I have always been a sucker for a good fight scene, and nobody put together fight scenes like the greatest fighter in film history.  Enter the Dragon is one of the most legendary martial arts films in movie history.  It set the tone for many other films to come and was martyred by the death of Bruce Lee right before its release.  Lee put together an impressive performance before he died and he will be remembered forever because of it.

Bruce Lee is like no other fighter seen on film, he is so fluid and natural.  While an impressive physique is commonly seen in today’s actors that wasn’t the case in 1973.  Bruce Lee was a freak of nature in this film; not only physically but mystically as well given his incredible snake taming abilities. What Lee showed in this film more than anything was potential. Potential to be one of the greatest celebrities of all time. His death was a tragedy felt by fans all over the world, and he will always be remembered fondly.  In 1973 he wasn’t big enough to headline this movie alone in the US though so John Saxon was cast to co-star.  Saxon may have been a washed up actor with little talent but he was white, so he qualified for a big role in this movie.  You can also clearly see elements of blaxploitation in this movie with the Williams character. Jim Kelly may have been a pretty crappy actor but what an awesome character he made in this film.  Not that his acting was any better here but that afro was out of this world. Bolo Yeung looks like an Asian Lou Ferrigno in this movie with his massive size and bulk. If you think he is impressive here you should see him fifteen years later in Bloodsport, he is even more roided up in that film.  Bob Wall does a great job of getting his ass kicked by Bruce Lee again, he appeared in 3 of Lee’s 4 films.  Jackie Chan can also be seen as an extra in this film, he is the guard who gets his neck broken dramatically during the big fight scene with the guards.

Bruce Lee is one of my personal heroes, I have tried my best to incorporate certain parts of his character into my own.  His determination, skill, and drive are things I have all admired and tried to learn from. Lee is more of an icon because he died young but he lived a life we can all learn from. His story is one I would like to encourage anybody out there to research because it really is extraordinary. We will have two more opportunities to discuss Bruce Lee on our journey through our DVD rack.  We don’t own Game of Death because Lee is only in it briefly, but we do own all the movies he truly starred in.

This was a great film and if you enjoy martial arts films then it is one you definitely need to see. What makes fight scenes so great is that in all new movies they make efforts to out do what was done before them.  I specifically enjoy that reality of films, but this movie can stand toe to toe with anything that has come out in the last forty years.  It was that good then and is that good now.  It is more than worth your time.

NEXT MOVIE: Equilibrium (2002)

Enemy of the State

Year: 1998
Directed By: Tony Scott
Written By: David Marconi

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie came out during my first year in high school. What’s funny is that by the time I graduated four years later it had all but become a reality. The Patriot Act had been passed and the government had the capabilities that are portrayed as too dangerous in this film. This movie was made right before our society changed so drastically.  This was made during a time when the internet was still young, cell phones were young, and the biggest problem the nation faced was the fact that the President was getting blow jobs on the side. The world was so different then and you can see that in this film.  They use strange devices like video cassettes, pagers, and VCRs.  I always enjoy movies like this that remind me of when the world was different, in a way that many of the younger generations will never understand.

The government agencies portrayed in this film are totally fictional but they still bear a representation of what certain agencies became after 9/11.  Some of the technologies used in this film have become big time players in the new society we live in such as facial recognition technology and satellite surveillance.  This movie made for a frightening scenario in 1998 but the realities of it in today’s world aren’t that severe. It doesn’t affect the day to day lives of normal people and most of what we see in this movie is just Hollywood stuff.  One interesting thing I just noticed in the movie is that Jon Voight’s character was born on 9/11/40.  Strange coincidences like that often pop up in films, as I mentioned in our Demolition Man review.

I have never been a fan of Ridley Scott‘s little brother, Tony Scott.  He is the weaker director of the two brothers and I have never liked his coloring technique or his choppy way of piecing sequences together.  I’ll admit that he has made several decent movies though and I have liked many of them, such as this one. Will Smith is, and always has been, one of the coolest guys in the business.  I haven’t always been his biggest fan but I can’t deny his talent.  He had swagger long before it became the thing people talked about.   In this film he plays the part well and I have always remembered it as one of his better movies.  It’s one that I bring up if I need to give someone an example of how good he really is.  Gene Hackman fit his part well and this was another great addition to a long and distinguished career from Hackman.  Jon Voight also naturally fits the role that he plays in this film. Tom Sizemore is another one perfectly cast in his part as a criminal with a big time shoot out ending. The casting department just hit a home run all around by putting together a great supporting cast featuring Seth Green, Jack Black, Barry Pepper, Jamie Kennedy, Gabriel Byrne, Regina King, Jason Lee, Lisa Bonet, and the sons of James Caan and Gary Busey.

This movie is a non-stop thrill ride that really keeps the excitement coming.  It has a great cast, a good story, a lot of action, and a very climactic ending.  I have written many times about how much action films meant in my household growing up. This one was held in high regard all around, and still is by me today.  This movie runs a bit long at two hours and twelve minutes but it is definitely worth that time to see it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Every time we review a Will Smith movie, I am going to link this video. Watch it.
Jay as Will Smith
For some reason, I got really sucked into this movie last night. We did have a babysitter, so maybe that had something to do with it, but I really found the movie to be really entertaining. I have seen it before, but it had been a really long time, so it was fun to follow along and trying to remember what happens and how. This movie is a fun ride, and Will Smith is always a fun guy to watch. I don’t think that he cries in this movie. Maybe he does, but Ryan has this running joke about how Will Smith cries in every movie he is in. He can make a tear appear at the drop of a hat.

I really like this movie. If you haven’t seen it, it is worth watching. It will keep you entertained and wondering if the government is really like that. Listening to everyone’s conversations. It’s all a little creepy if you ask me.

NEXT MOVIE: Enter the Dragon (1973)

Edward Scissorhands

Year: 1990
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is such an awesome movie.  When it came out it was a new and interesting fairy tale made in true Tim Burton fashion.  Like many other Burton movies this one is exceptional because there really is no other like it.  This movie is interesting, imaginative, and incredible. With this strange fantasy story Tim Burton manages to give us an insight into how he sees the world and tell us something about ourselves all in one stroke.  This film is about finding out who you are, it’s about love and fear; it’s part Beauty and the Beast, part Frankenstein, and all Tim Burton.

Tim Burton really is one of a kind.  He has such a vision when it comes to blending colors on screen and he has a style that is all his own.  I have never cared much for what I think of as “the creepy Tim Burton crap” but it is part of who he is and it is original.  His originality is what makes him such a great filmmaker and this is one of the best showcases for his talent.  My favorite of his films has got to be Beetle Juicebut this is a really really close second. Johnny Depp is great as the title character and if I’m not mistaken he has referred to this as one of his favorite roles.  He portrays such an innocent being that is victimized by the world and ultimately misunderstood. Winona Ryder is young and beautiful.  Dianne Wiest is honest and good spirited.  However, after Johnny Depp I think the best performance has to go to Alan Arkin.  He plays the father of the Boggs so deftly and naturally that it makes you believe this is a real family and a real story.  I have read that the death of Jim at the end of the film was Tim Burton’s revenge on the jocks who picked on him in high school but I think that revenge came in casting Anthony Michael Hall as the jock instead.  Hall had played dorks and nerds for a long time but was trying to change his image with this role. Who was he kidding though, right?  He did a horrible job and his career continued on a downward spiral because of it.  This was the last film that Vincent Price appeared in and that is another thing that makes it special.  It is sad that the last thing he did on screen was dying though.

Edward is a creature of isolation, in this film we see him adapt and attempt to live a normal life.  Edward does not understand what he is dealing with in society though and he is vulnerable because of his ignorance. The world is cruel, and it isn’t long before the world is trying to exploit Edward in a variety of ways.  When he doesn’t understand what is going on he responds in ways that society doesn’t understand. He isn’t a person, he is the unfinished product of the inventor and it isn’t his fault that he doesn’t understand the world.  He tries to do what he thinks is right but is unequipped and unaware of how to deal with the manipulation and the cruelty of others.  Everywhere he goes people continually fill him with hope by telling him that they know a doctor who can help him but the only people who do help him are the Boggs, and ultimately they fail to understand him as well.  The only one who really knew him was the one he fell for, and she couldn’t help him either. What makes Edward such a great character is that he is so diverse and innocent.  He is someone we can all learn from because in his story we can see aspects of ourselves and our nature.

I have written before about Danny Elfman as a composer, we have reviewed several movies now that he scored. I do like Danny Elfman but in this journey through our movies I have found myself losing respect for him.  He has such a specific sound that I don’t even have to see the credits to know he was involved in a movie now.  While I think he has put together some great musical scores for films I am noticing more and more that all his scores sound the same.  Tim Burton uses him frequently and I think they work really well together.  Elfman’s gloomy sound is perfect for Tim Burton’s purposes.  If you want to know what I am talking about though see Beetle Juice, Darkman, Batman, or Batman Returns

This is a wonderful movie that many love.  It isn’t one you need me to tell you to see but I am always happy to recommend it during a rare time that I find someone who hasn’t seen it.  Great cast, great story, and a great filmmaker at his best.  This movie will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you feel on a deeper level.  It is more than worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I love, love this movie. This was the first film of it’s kind that I had ever seen. I didn’t even know that movies like this existed or could exist. It is a beautifully made movie, with and incredible plot. I love the housing units, the costumes, the hairdos. Everything was thought about and thought about until it was perfect.

I thoroughly enjoy this movie and could watch it over and over. If you haven’t seen it, it is more than worth it to watch it.

NEXT MOVIE: Enemy of the State (1998)

Dumb and Dumber

Year: 1994
Directed By: Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly
Written By: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, and Bennett Yellin

RYAN’S REVIEW

This film has given me almost twenty years of laughter and I am still laughing as we watch it now.  It’s worked out well that we reached this movie now as there has been talk of a sequel recently in the news. For whatever reason Jim Carrey‘s star has been falling for some time and he is beginning to revisit his old characters in an effort to get back on top.  However what I heard was that Carrey was watching this film and had an idea for the sequel and called the Farrelly brothers about it. That is an idea that intrigues me and I am very hopeful for the next film.  I am a big Jim Carrey fan and I would really like to see him get back to superstardom.

This was one of the roles that turned Carrey into a superstar in the mid 90s.  It gave him a lot of freedom to just do his thing and be funny and that’s exactly what he did.  He has great chemistry with Jeff Daniels, who also brings a lot to the movie.  I am a big fan of Jeff Daniels too, who is starring in a new HBO series that I am really looking forward to.  I saw a trailer for the show that set quite an impression, you can check it out here if you like. Together Carrey and Daniels made a duo that will always be making people laugh. Word is that Daniels is on board for the sequel so it will be really cool to see what these guys can come up with when they try it again. Lauren Holly looks fantastic in this movie. Although, as I said in a recent post I am not really a fan of hers.

I used to think the Farrelly brothers were two of the funniest filmmakers out there but as I have gotten older I have felt differently.  While they have made many really funny films that I loved and laughed at in my adolescents. Their movies tend to always center on a character suffering from some sort of disability.  Be it a film like this making fun of stupid people, fat and ugly (Shallow Hal), disabled (Kingpin), Siamese twins (Stuck on You),  or even the mentally handicapped (There’s Something About Mary and Me, Myself, & Irene). As I have grown older and matured these don’t really seem like appropriate things to make fun of so I don’t hold these two in such high regard any longer. I still enjoy a couple of their films but these are not appropriate things to laugh at, and I think it sets a bad example for younger generations.

If you haven’t seen this movie then where have you been for the last eighteen years? It is a timeless comedy that people will always be laughing at. This is a good movie to check out now with the possibility of a new sequel being made.  I have never seen the prequel movie made with different people and I haven’t heard very many good things about it. This movie is definitely worth your time, it has non-stop laughs and a great soundtrack.  It is worth a lot of your time if truth be told.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is one of those few movies that my Dad let us watch when we were growing up. I can almost recite this movie word for word. I love it. I think it is hilarious in a way that no other actors could achieve. It takes me back to a place of being a child and thinking that farting and setting a fire was the funniest thing on Earth. If you haven’t seen this movie, then you are probably living under a rock. Or you are 15. In either case you need to see this film before they do the next one. I think it might be really cool to see those guys re-visit this after so many years. I am really looking forward to it.

NEXT MOVIE: Edward Scissorhands (1990)