Everything Must Go, indeed.

2 out of 5 stars

 

Everything Must Go

Will Ferrell plays Nick Halsey, a sales rep who has problems with alcohol but has been clean for awhile until a recent business trip causes him to relapse.  His relapse loses him his job and forces his wife to walk out on him.  She moves all of his stuff onto their lawn and leaves.  Nick decides after putting it off for a day to host a lawn sale, and what follows is journey into his soul, his life, and the things he has done and is still doing.

Acting

Before renting Everything must go, I had been looking forward to it coming out for some time.  I figured it would be Will Ferrell’s second attempt at a serious roll.  The first being Stranger than fiction, which was really well done and quite good.  However, as soon as the movie began it just wasn’t working.  His roll of Nick Halsey, had to many elements of other comedy characters he has played in the past which made it almost impossible for me not to laugh.  Every time he would make a facial expression or say a line similar to that of one of his famous comedy’s I would chuckle.  Perhaps that’s no fault of his own but Nick Halsey just seemed to laughable as a real character, Ive never heard of anyone living on their lawn while hosting a multi day lawn sale.

Plot

As mentioned above the plot really wasn’t working for me.  Not only did it not seem real especially because its a lawn sale in suburbia, but none of it seemed plausible.  The whole basis for the movie didn’t seem real.  I don’t think anyone could “find” themselves while getting drunk and having a lawn sale.

Overall

I couldn’t find much that I liked about the movie at all.  I had high hopes, and I had read some ok reviews, but once i saw the movie I was severely disappointed.  The only real reason to watch the movie is to see Will Ferrell attempt another serious role, and while he failed, at least hes trying so you can give him some credit.  In serious roles Will Ferrell is now 1-1 on my scorecard, and perhaps that’s how he should leave and go back to his uber successful comedy’s.  All in all I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

Recommended Viewing

  1. Talladega Nights
  2. Step Brothers
  3. Old School
  4. Anchorman
  5. Stranger than Fiction

Currently Watching:

  • 30 Rock
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Rise of the Planet of the Apes, rises to the occasion.

3.5 out of 5

 

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Will Rodman played by James Franco, is a young up and coming scientist, working on a possible cure for Alzheimer’s.  He is deeply devoted to the cause, as his father played by John Lithgow, is stricken with the disease and is deteriorating quickly.  All of his testing is done on apes.  When he comes across a possible cure he takes it up for human testing using his successful ape case as his proving point.  When his cured ape becomes violent and aggressive before he can bring his drug up for board approval his project is shut down.  All of his ape test subjects are killed except for a young baby ape, the child of an ape given the curing drug.

He takes the ape home and names him Caezar.  He also injects his dad with the new drug he developed as its first human trial off the books.  It works his dad gets better, but whats more impressive is Caezars incredible intelligence and rapid gain of intelligence.  As the years pass a bond develops between Will and Caezar, more of a father/ son relationship, than a pet/ owner relationship.  However, as time goes by Caezars primal nature takes over more and more until he eventually attacks a neighbor and is sent to an ape safe house.  The safe house turns into a nightmare and Caezar begins to fight for his freedom, using the drug he builds an army of apes to escape and head of freedom, can Will help save Caezar and the lives of the other apes?

Acting

James Franco delivered as Will Rodman.  He was able to convey both verbally and non-verbally how much he cared about his father and Caezar.  It was in the small things he did that really made his character come alive and add depth.  John Lithgow as Charles Rodman was a clear success.  John Lithgow seemed to really play an Alzheimer’s patient well at the start, he really made me feel like he had the disease.  He was able to immediately shift from a confused old man, to a vibrant and rejuvenated father.  This comes as no surprise as everything John Lithgow has done recently, primarily his portrayal of the Trinity Killer on Dexter, have been excellent.

Plot

The plot was not quite what I was expecting.  I went into the movie with an open mind and didn’t read any reviews or summary’s of the movie.  This led me to believe that there was going to be vicious battles between the apes and the humans, but outside of one scene there was not.  This planet of the apes seemed to have only been meant as the very beginning, and there leaving a lot of room for sequels.  The real plot was the freeing of a lot of captive apes, as well as the relationship between Will and Caezar.  They also seemed to want to develop why the apes were so pissed off in the first place, not that it is terribly difficult to figure out.

Overall

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was surprisingly captivating, and for what it is, incredibly well done.  I don’t think anyone would say that any movie connected with Planet of the Apes is really Oscar worthy, but out of all of the Planet of the Apes movies Ive seen this had to be the best.  The cinematography was exceptional, there were great shots of San Fransisco, and the California redwoods, I couldn’t tell whether were real or fake most of the time, but due to their nature of difficulty I would say most were computer generated, but since I couldn’t tell the difference it does not matter.  The apes were all very life like, and seemed real enough to be watching them at the zoo.  That combined with well played characters and an interesting plot well played out made for a very enjoyable movie.  I gave a 3.5 out of 5 stars, and would highly recommend seeing it, especially in theaters, just because it makes you feel like you’re part of the action!

Recommended viewing

  • Planet of the Apes (2001)
  • Planet of the Apes (1968)
  • Cliffhanger (John Lithgow plays the antagonist to perfection)
  • Dexter season 4
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Your Highness

1 out of 5 stars

 

Your Highness

The story is based in medieval times, and follows two brothers Thadeous played by Danny Mcbride and Fabious played by James Franco.  They are both princes and warriors, however Fabious is an accomplished and respected warrior, where as Thadeous is considered a lazy and poorly skilled warrior.  Fabious returns from a quest successful and announces his engagement to Belladonna, as the wedding is taking place Belladonna is kidnapped by the great sorcerer Leezar.  Fabious and Thadeous set out to track her down and kill Leezar, in the process they meet Isabel played by Natalie Portman.  Both of their quests have a similar goal in mind of killing Leezar, they team up to do so.

Acting

Danny Mcbride and James Franco each have moments of high quality comedy, and they play their roles about as well as they possibly can.  It doesn’t seem as though they are given that many opportunities to show off their acting chops, basically a few quick laughs mixed in with boring action scenes.

Overall

I remember seeing previews for the movie and thinking that it looks relatively funny, not to mention all the adds started with “From the director of Pineapple Express” which didn’t hurt.  Pineapple Express was quite funny, and all the characters had some beef to them, not so much with Your Highness.  At quite a few points the movie got way to perverted, rather unnecessarily, which rubbed me the wrong way.  As is often the case with bad comedy’s, most of the funniest moments of the movie were in all of the movie trailers.  I found it painful to watch and I couldn’t wait for it to be over.  I gave it 1 out of 5 stars, and at no point would I recommend it to anyone, one critic said it was possibly the worst movie he had ever seen.  While I wont go that far, it was bad, far worse than expected, and for your reading pleasure five worse movies, all comedy’s.

Five Worse Comedy’s

  • Not another teen movie
  • Freddy Got Fingered
  • High school High
  • The Master of Disguise
  • Meet the Spartans

 

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Season of the Witch

2 out of 5 stars

 

Season of the Witch

In the 13th century during the later crusades Nicolas Cage plays Behmen, a Knights Templar member who after one to many crusades decides that perhaps, god does not will it(Kingdom of Heaven anyone?).  He travels back to Europe with his long time companion Felson, played by Ron Perlman in search of something better in life.  Shortly after being back in Europe Behmen is told of the black plague, and its wrath.  After being in a small castle town for a short while it is found out that he and Felson are crusade deserters.  They are given the choice of either transporting a suspected witch, or essentially being hung.  Behmen agrees under the condition the witch be given a fair trial upon her arrival(as fair as a witch trial can be).  As the trip begins all is not as it seems, and danger is in their future.

Acting

The only reason I decided to watch this movie is because of Nick Cage, and Ron Perlman.  I am a fan of both actors, while many people think Nick Cage sucks I find him to be rather versatile in the roles he plays, and a highly underrated actor overall, perhaps the one thing I agree with Rodger Ebert on.  While they played there roles well, they were roles which sucked to begin with.  It was rather comical, when the movie began, Nick Cage and Ron P. were jokingly discussing a wager on who killed more people during the battle, would be the one to buy dinner.  Comical in the sense that it did not make any.  I highly doubt at any point during the crusades any soldier from any side joked about the battle ahead considering the carnage they knew was in front of them, blunt edged weapons meets old destroyed armor, with a twist of malnourishment, and a hint of sleep deprivation.  Other than the two leading roles everyone was god awful, especially Claire Foy who plays the suspected witch.

Overall

There really was no redeeming value to the movie.  The first 10 minutes make it clear, from than on there are no twists really.  The last 10 minutes try to bring one out, but honestly it is a failed attempt at making the movie intriguing.  While I enjoyed Behmen as a character because of his changed perception, I wondered whether or not he had really changed if he could go from questioning whether the crusades were necessary to immediately believing in a Witch.  I understand during the time period it is understandable, but it does lead me to question.

The movie really showed its colors when my favorite scene was the group crossing a bridge.  Yes, that is correct crossing a bridge was in my view, the climax.  They try to hit it at the end, but it fails miserably because they go outside the film and try to get you to imagine the difference between a Witch and a Demon, splitting hairs in my opinion.  While it was supposed to be an action thriller, I couldn’t help buy view it as a comedy as I found myself laughing out loud, lol’ing, at most of the movie.

The worst part was I knew what I was getting into when I rented it.  It looked bad from the trailers, it looked bad from the movie poster, and its movie cover looked bad.  This is one case where, not only should you judge a book by its cover, but if you do, it will save you 97 minutes of your life.  I give this movie 2 out of 5 stars, and honestly that is almost a pity ranking because Nick Cage is the lead.

Top 5 Nick Cage movies

  1. Bad lieutenant
  2. Adaptation
  3. Leaving Las Vegas
  4. The Weather man
  5. Matchstick Men

Honorable mentions to Lord of War which is bar far my favorite, Con air a cult classic, and The Wicker Man which was highly under appreciated.

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Limitless, more like limited appeal

2 out of 5 stars

 

Limitless

Limitless stars Bradley Cooper as Edward Morra, a struggling writer, who is in a writing slump, and a slump in life.  His girlfriend breaks up with him and an update on his book for his publisher is due soon.  By chance he runs into his ex-wife’s brother who gives him a pill with the promise of great things and a great improvement in life.  He takes the pill, and just as soon as he takes it his life changes instantly.  He is able to finish his book in stellar fashion.  He goes back to get more drugs, without realizing just what he is getting himself into.  First his brother in law is murdered, then a Russian Mob affiliate is trying to shake him down for money.  As he starts to experience financial success from trading stocks the stakes go up again, and his health along with his core social groups are brought into question.  Can he end up making everything workout or will everything fall apart?

Acting

Bradley Cooper does an ok job of transforming from a struggling misfit into a high powered, motivated executive.  Other than that there is a limited amount of quality performances.  At times I felt as if Bradley Cooper was overdoing his role, than flip flops and misses a scene and almost plays the scene off like he doesn’t care, it goes back and forth neither being ideal.

Robert De niro plays Carl Van Loon, just another typecast role for De niro.  Not much of a stretch for him, as its another serious, gruff, and powerful figure to play the role of.  He plays both Edward Morras mentor while on the drug as well as his business associate.  Later surpassed by Edward Morra after having been on the drug for awhile.

Overall

I was not impressed at all by much of anything in the film.  It left me feeling like I had wasted my time, as there were little redeeming factors.  The occasional decent action bit helped give it a little life but other than that rather boring.  The best aspect of the film was imagining what you could achieve yourself if such a drug were real, and whether or not the rewards outweigh the risks.  All in all, Id say the only reason to watch Limitless would be if you feel like watching a documentary on a fully functional Heroin addict, as that’s about the best description I can give for the film in one sentence.  I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

Recommended viewing

  1. The Hangover
  2. The Hangover 2
  3. Yes Man (Bradley Cooper plays a minor role)
  4. All Robert De Niro movies especially Awakenings, The Deer Hunter, Casino, and Sleepers.
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Matthew Mcconaughey is The Lincoln Lawyer

3 out of 5

The Lincoln Lawyer

Mick Haller is a defense attorney who is willing to defend a guilty party, so long as it doesn’t interfere with his own sense of morals.  When he is set up with a client, Louis Roulet, who he cannot see as being innocent or guilty from the get go.  The case takes a turn when he finds out that a former client is in prison for a crime his current client committed.  It will test his ability to handle situations, and bring him to the brink of self collapse.  Can he find a way to get his old client out of prison, and his current client in prison, without a breach of state law and ethics.

Ryan Phillippe

The performance of all of the cast overshadow the actual plot of the movie.  Ryan Phillippe specifically, his performance was remarkable, he was able to turn on the charm, and show aggression with the flip of a switch, not only showing off his own acting chops, but showing his characters temperament and making you believe that all that occurred in the film was possible for his character.

Matthew Mcconaughey’s performance was a close second.  While I have never read the book, Ive heard that people weren’t convinced he was the right choice for the role.  After watching the film it is clear that there may have been better choices, perhaps one that dident make you think of a country hick trying to play the role of a street smart city boy.  None the less he made the role his own.  He mixed a sense of confidence and swagger with a desire to do the right thing, leading to well acted role.

The plot

As i already mentioned I had not read the book before seeing the movie, nor do I have any intentions on reading it now, but even without having read the book it was pretty clear what was going to happen next with only a few things seemingly to come as a surprise.  This did make the surprises that much better, but due to the general lack of them its hard to feel as if the plot was really all that gripping.

Overall

The acting by both Phillippe and Mcconaughey, and the supporting roles of William H. Macy and Marisa Tomei were what really made this movie decent, without them the movie would barely pass as ok.  The plot was as previously mentioned generally boring, and predictable.  *Spoiler Alert* The one thing that the movie lacked dearly was a necessary end scene in which Hallers former client Jesus Martinez walks free from prison while Louis Roulet walks into prison, ideally crossing each others path in the same screen shot.  That scene alone would have added alot to the film, giving a feeling of completion.  I give the film 3 out of 5 stars ***

Recommended Viewing

If you appreciated Phillippe and Mcconaugheys performances I recommend:

  1. Antitrust
  2. Cruel Intentions
  3. Two for the Money
  4. A Time to Kill
  5. Dazed and Confused
  6. Empire
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