Ted is the relatively simple tale of boy and toy, seen through the sometimes perverse, but often hilarious eyes of Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad). MacFarlane, who directs and provides the voice of the title character (a teddy bear brought to life through a young boy’s Christmas wish), gives us a comedy that stands out not only because it’s MacFarlane’s first live action directed feature, but because it also ironically takes what would seem to be the plot of a G-rated movie and converts it into R-rated glory packed with MacFarlane’s signature brand of pop culture laden crude humor. Ted is exactly what you’d expect– funny and simple– but with a surprising ability to blend its fantastical premise with some genuine emotion.
I would have a hard time naming more than ten movies off the top of my head in rapid succession that are as visually stunning as Tron: Legacy is for the bulk of two hours.
Unfortunately, I could also lump Tron: Legacy into the large group of films that succeed almost solely based on their jaw-dropping special effects while providing little to care about in terms of characters, or plot.
But even with it’s slight deficiencies, Tron: Legacy can still be considered a success. The movie is a visual feast with an amazing soundtrack, mediocre acting, and a swiss-cheese level plot. So what if it’s only entertaining, and not an awards contender.
Why? I’ve had Zombie Town in my Netflix instant queue since well before Halloween, along with a handful of other zombie movies — all of which I planned on reviewing before the October 31st. Obviously, that didn’t happen. However, I did manage to view and review Gangs of the Dead before my self-imposed deadline, meaning I’m not completely awful at running a website.
Zombie Town is not a very good zombie movie. It attempts to accomplish feats such as scaring you, making you laugh, and forming a bond between the viewer and the film’s characters; all of which are necessary for a successful zombie movie, none of which the movie accomplishes. Zombie Town did manage to impress me with buckets of gore, some cheesy one-liners, and a Romeronian portrayal of the living dead, meaning it isn’t completely awful.
I also expect at least three people to read this, meaning I’m awful at getting my hopes up, just like I am at running a website.
I really shouldn’t need to introduce a movie called Gangs of the Dead. It is exactly what you’d imagine based solely on its uninspired title; an apocalyptic zombie film with gangsters. I know, right? It sounds like the most awesome movie that could possibly exist.
How could anyone not love a tragic tale of lower street-thug gang life meets flesh-starved zombies with no ambition other than to feast on the living? It’s like if George A. Romero had directed Boyz n the Hood, and honestly, that’s the movie I’ve been waiting for.
I’ve always felt like the angst of the clashing of the black and Mexican cultures in the urban South-West could best be told through an ingenious satire where the living dead represent something much deeper than mindless corpses.
No, I’m fucking with you. This movie sucks.
The Town is Ben Affleck’s directorial follow-up to his impressive debut Gone Baby Gone. Where his previous film was perhaps a bit grimier and grittier, The Town boasts all the obvious step-ups in production value. The chases are slicker, and explosions are more grand, and it’s yet another Bostonian Crime film that holds your emotions in the palm of its hand for the entire two hours.
Ben Affleck gets a pretty bad rep from a lot of people who claim that his acting is hollow or wooden. Those folks made the mistake of thinking movies like The Sum of All Fears or Paycheck were going to be anything more than big-budget, special effects-laden popcorn flicks. Affleck never proved to be the weak link in his weaker films, and since turning his focus behind the camera he has shown a real great sense of telling a compelling and engaging story. In all honesty, Ben Affleck directs the movies Clint Eastwood would direct with an extra shot of adrenaline, a pair of testicles, and minimal sentimentality. With The Town, we are presented with an area (The Charlestown area of Boston) where it immediately becomes obvious that crime is the only real career choice for work.
She’s Out of My League stars Jay Baruchel as Kirk, a nerdy guy who works in an airport who works with all of his best friends. He finds a lost iPhone that happens to belong to a hot “perfect 10” named Molly. When he returns it to her they hit it off and begin a relationship, despite the obvious difference in their public statuses.
The movie fails to highlight the genuine attraction that Molly would have for Kirk at first, and only later begins to explain that she’s looking for a guy who isn’t going to hurt her in a long term relationship. Of course, Kirk is more than happy to reap the benefits by dating a girl obviously out of his league.
The chemistry between Baruchel and Molly (Alice Eve) is decent, but the problem lies with Baruchel’s inability to carry a movie by himself. I’m not a huge fan of his usually, and he provides little here to believe he can ever be anything more than a peripheral character in a comedy. He doesn’t play the awkward guy as well as some might think, and it’s somewhat annoying at points here. Still, Kirk is a decently honest guy who realizes his great luck, and he’s not terrible.
George A. Romero is and will always be the Godfather of the Dead. He basically single handedly invented and popularized the modern zombie through films like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead, and while there have been countless takes on the zombie genre ever since Romero found massive success, no one has even come close to creating a film as entertaining or memorable as Romero’s earlier works.
Time and time again Romero has proven himself the king of the zombie film, constantly providing undead lovers like myself with the most entertaining, gory and thought-provoking zombie movies there are. In 2009, he released Diary of the Dead, a film that was definitely my least favorite of Romero’s works. It was a good film, but sadly it strayed too far from what made his earlier works, including 2005’s Land of the Dead, so fantastic. It was like when a band comes out with an “experimental” album. So when I saw early trailers for Survival, boasting a glorious return to form for the visionary director, I got very excited.
Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg is a low key, intimate character study centering around Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller). Greenberg, as we quickly find out, was recently released from a mental health facility and is taking up to living in his brother’s house while he travels to Vietnam with his family. Greenberg soon sparks a relationship with his brother’s assistant Florence, and their relationship is pretty touch and go to say the least.
The relationship between Roger and Florence is actually quite palpable almost immediately. There is an awkward tension between them, but they’re both in the right frame of mind for a quick hook up it seems. Except while Roger wants to do nothing and be connected to no one, Florence seems to yearn for a constant connection with anyone and to fill her life doing task after task for Roger’s brother. Their lives overlap in a very unique and very true way.
Ben Stiller gives one of the finest performances of his career. It’s nothing like he’s done before, and is very subdued. Stiller’s main asset is great timing, and Greenberg himself has a good deal of fantastic lines. He’s a very moody guy who seems to focus on the minutia of life, and almost everything seems to bother him. It’s a very, very realistic character. He’s narcissistic and always in his own head. He rarely lets things go. But there is an air of humanity embedded in him that makes him a sympathetic character. He’s not tremendously “likable,” if that were a legitimate argument for disliking the film as whole, but he’s human. He’s obviously sorting through things in his life, and trying to embrace a new Roger Greenberg.
Zombie movies are for many, myself included, their very own genre of film. You’ve got horror films, thrillers, suspense, and many different variations of the scary movie. Separated from all of them by category is the Zombie movie. It’s something that’s had many different takes by many different writers and directors, lead in quality and execution by the legendary George A. Romero, director and screenwriter of the “of the Dead” series of films — Night, Dawn, Day, Land, Diary and Survival — all of which serve as the basic building blocks for any Zombie movie that hopes to reach anything higher than garbage.
And still, despite being around since the premier of White Zombie in 1932 and popularized to peak heights with the release of Night of the Living Dead in 1968, some directors are finding new and unique takes on the zombie movie genre. Case in point – Deadgirl. It is certainly a zombie film, but unlike any I’ve ever seen. No hoards of living dead, very little flesh consumption, no head shots, and no apocalypse. What does Deadgirl offer instead? Zombie sex. And lots of it.
Like most failed chick flicks, The Bounty Hunter is trying to juggle way more than it’s capable of. Amidst the central relationship between Nicole and Milo, there are peripheral goings-on that really doom the movie right from the start. Nicole (Jennifer Aniston) is a reporter investigating a suspicious murder within the New York City Police Department. She herself was recently arrested, but we don’t find out exactly why until the last fifteen minutes of the movie. The “big reveal” isn’t worth it at all. It’s just like the rest of the movie. Lame, lame, lame.
Milo (Gerard Butler) is a former detective who was fired from the department and turned to bounty hunting. So he has a stake in uncovering that one of his best friends and ex-partner is innocent. He’s given the opportunity to track down his ex-wife and bring her in for a $5,000 reward, and jumps at the chance. A flimsy plot, yes, but it could have possibly worked on at least a mediocre level. But it never does. This is almost entirely because every single character (except for one) is severely unlikeable.