Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Last Airbender in 3D (question mark???)

Let's make this short and simple. This is a kid's movie. If they love the cartoon they might like this. To quote my plus 1 "There were kids in it, but I don't think it is a kid's movie." Good point. But it is bloodless and there aren't a lot of people that actually "die". Some, not a lot.

I saw it in 3D (it was free, I had no choice). But you can't tell. There is almost no 3D since this is another case of being shot in 2D and then up for conversion. It was so dark (a requirement of 3D) that I could barely see what was going on anyways. It was annoyingly dark. Had I paid, I would have complained. I cannot stress enough that if you feel compelled to see it, see it in 2D. It will look much better.

It was made by M. Night Shaymalan. I actually think this isn't as bad as his historic mess known as "The Happening" but it definitely isn't a return to his original greatness. I guess it was a fluke.

So, I guess as in the cartoon on which it is based, there are some people who can manipulate the elements. They're called XXXX-benders. Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. It's funny that the show is actually called Avatar, but I guess there was another movie made recently that used that title, so this one was changed.

It's hard to come up with what to say about this movie. It's bad, but not in a way that really gives any enjoyment. The only thing close is Aasif Mandvi, from The Daily Show. His acting is fantastically "Mark Wahlbergesque" in how laughably bad it is. He's belting out lines like he's still reporting to John Stewart.

Can I just one more time stress how dark the film projection was? So dark. Any of the night scenes you squint and struggle to see what is going on.

Did you enjoy it?
Would you see it in theaters again?

Would you buy it?

Would you rent it?

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?
Yes. Just kidding. NO.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Knight and Day can't get No Respect

This was on today's movie listing link I found from The Onion's A/V Club page. Two questions: how far in advance does the AMC Ford City book their theaters and who is doing the reviewing of their site. If you look closely (I did not when I made this jpeg) its not even the only movie listed on their site without a title.

2000-2010: The Decade of Paul Rudd

Earlier this year I tried to decide how to sum up 2000-2010. What really encapsulates the "Aught" decade? Then it dawned on me. Paul Rudd. Circling the periphery for years as an actor, he's always been good. But this past 10 years he's really cemented his place in history. He put his name in with not one of the great comedy camps but both of the two main ones (Apatow and "The State" crew).

Wet Hot American Summer 2001
Paul Rudd steals the show from a lot of funny people. Whether it is pouting because he has to pick up his lunch tray that he just threw on the ground, throwing kids out of the van into the woods or playing air guitar when magical wind is blowing on him, he's amazing.

Friends (18 episodes) 2002 - 2004
One of the few people able to get into the inner circle of the tightly knit Friends crew. He may have come on during the waning years of the show, he still introduced us to "Crap Bag and Princess Consuela Banana Hammock".

Anchorman 2004
As a friend of mine pointed out, watch Paul Rudd sitting on the news desk when they find out their number one in the ratings. It will blow your mind.

The Baxter 2005
Not a great movie, but another chance to play with The State crew. And he does get "Baxter'd".

40 Year Old Virgin 2005
Boner Jams '03. Need I say more?

Diggers 2006 (written by Ken Marino)
A chance to do some serious work in a more grounded tale. Again written by a State member.

The Ten 2007
Our narrator and guide through this hit or miss comedy about the Ten Commandments.

Reno 911: Miami 2007
He gets to try out his spanish accent as a druglord in Reno's movie.

Knocked Up 2007
Another chance to ad lib with Seth Rogen in a Judd Apatow movie. "I'd gun it up to 88 miles an hour" and "I like the way you move"

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story 2007
He almost disappears into the role of John Lennon. You really don't see the acting at all. Or they just keep saying each other's names so you know who they're supposed to be. Isn't that right, John Lennon?

Forgetting Sarah Marshall 2008
Pothead surfer in beautiful Hawaii. "When life gives you lemons I say "f##k it and bail."

Role Models 2008
A starring role and a co-writer credit. This movie is just a chance to do some funny things with kids. "Love take me down to the streets"

I Love You, Man 2009
The perfect PR double feature with Role Models. Watching a grown man try to make friends is surprisingly funny. Plus, I got to see this movie and Role Models with Paul Rudd in attendance for both screenings. JLM got to ask him a question and thankfully he had an answer.

Year One 2009
More of an extended cameo, he has one of the only bright spots in this super dull "comedy".

Dinner for Schmucks 2010
?????? Only a couple more weeks and we will see if his hitting streak continues...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Knight & Day

Okay, the summer continues to be one of the worst on record. Can Tom Cruise even save it? I know a lot of people hate Tom Cruise. It is the fashionable thing to do. But he can act when he wants to. His latest is Knight and Day (ignore the title, it only makes 'half sense). The story of an everyday girl getting mixed up with a possibly looney tunes spy.

First, they don't keep the plot point up on "is he a rogue agent" up for nearly long enough. On most plot points, they only build about half a house and then say "okay, go live in it". Is that a bad metaphor? Well, tough. That's how it felt, so that's how I am going to make you feel.

Rumor has it that the original script is hilarious. This feels like everyone was sold on the idea and then they all said "but what if they did this instead...". The other big issue is that even though this is a big budget film, you don't get to see a lot of the action. One of the jokes is that Cameron Diaz' character keeps getting knocked out in the middle of all this action. We see her drift in and out of consciousness. Meanwhile there is a lot of stuff going one. Once, I could see. But they keep going on it. I want to know how Tom got out of being hung upside down and tied up.

The other trouble with this movie is the close up. There are tons of shots of people's faces. To the point where I stopped watching the movie and started thinking "they must have buried the camera in the sand to get that shot". There are no medium shots and too few wide shots. It's another case of "let's cover up the action so people just get nauseaous instead.

This may sound like I hated the movie. That's not true. It is mostly forgettable and disappointing, but nothing super terrible. It hasn't saved the summer (I'm looking at you Inception). Worth the price of admission (free).

Did you enjoy it?

Meh. I give it a pass but barely.

Would you see it in theaters again?

Would you buy it?

Would you rent it?
Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?
Yes. On a rainy day like today, sure.

Friday, June 18, 2010

June Seventeenth, Two Thousand and Ten

30 for 30 ran an episode on Wednesday called "June 17, 1994" which depicts all the stuff that happened over the course of those days.
  • Rangers won Stanley Cup
  • Arnold Palmer mixed Lemonade and Iced Tea (and stopped golfing professionally unless you count the Senior tour...?)
  • Knicks were in the NBA Finals (which reminded me of my hatred for John Starks)
  • The World Cup was happening in Chicago
  • O.J. Simpson went for a cruise in a White Ford Bronco
I do remember that day for the last reason. This was about the time when every day I was playing NBA Jams: Tournament Addition with my friends Cody and Brian. We had planned to go to the New Lyric Theatre to see a movie at 9pm. But then we found a live news report of O.J. on the run. It was truly capivating television. It was fantastic how long that chase went on. It was just a car driving on the highway, but we couldn't take our eyes off it. But that's not the point of this article.

Now June 17th, 2010 will go down as a super awesome day, too.

  • Softball team trounces Denim Starship 25-5
  • Saw the great Aziz Ansari do standup at the Vic Theatre
  • Had late night double cheeseburger at Clark Dog (who, btw, got new menu boards)

Nuff Said.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Toy Story 3

Toy Story is back after 11 years. You have to wonder if all that time all those new great Pixar movies, if going back wasn't going to be a mistake. Well, wonder no more. When Disney and Pixar were going through their new contract negotiations a few years ago, one of the idle threats was that Disney was preparing a direct to video computer animated Toy Story 3. One of the conditions of Pixar coming back to Disney was that they would get to complete their "trilogy". And complete it they did.

Andy is going to college. The toys know their time is at an end. The best they can hope for is to go with Andy to college. Everyone knows the only possible toy for that is Woody. The rest are headed to the attic. The worst thing is that they could finally be thrown away. As the commercials show, the other option is donation to the local day care.

The plot isn't important (though it is good). All the humor and emotion from the series that Pixar started is still there. What more do you need to know? This will be the summer movie.

Did you enjoy it?
Of course I did. Do you think I'm made of stone?

Would you see it in theaters again?
Sure. It's like Avatar in the fact that the 3D services the look of the movie, it isn't showy.

Would you buy it?
I tend to not make a habit of buying cartoons. Maybe when I get rugrats of my own.

Would you rent it?

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?
Of course.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

"It worked when I met George Peppard last week."
     "George Peppard has been dead for years."
"Well, whoever he was, he knew a lot about the A-Team."

I heard someone regarding a commerical for the A-Team last week "that looks stupid". Yes, it was a mother of two, but still, you gotta know your demographic. Most people who remember the A-Team probably haven't watched it since they were kids. They remember it fondly because it had some action. What people fail to realize is that it was really a comedy. Every week, there were guns shooting at the ground, cars rolling over, Hannibal in disguise, B.A. not getting on "no plane", and Murdock getting sprung from the nut house.

This comedy really amps up the action. This is very similar to G.I. Joe last year. Less use of CGI, which is a good thing, but still a lot of the same. There is a tank floating to earth in a parachute, for heaven's sake. The movie is directed by Joe Carnahan. He knows fun action. If you've seen Smokin' Aces then you've seen Jason Batemen as a perv and Chris Pine as a nutso redneck. This time he cranks the volume up to 11.

It is a lot of fun, but a lot of fluff. At no point you're concerned about their lives. They get out of every situation unscathed. But it has been a slow summer and I would say this is about the best thing out there for adults. It's like a day at the beach, you might not remember the details but you will remember you had fun.

Did you enjoy it?
Very much so.
Would you see it in theaters again?
Would you buy it?
Would you rent it?
Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Site Layout

There are some new functions to the layout design so Krull Nugget is getting a new look. Be advised that it is still a work in progress.

Thanks to JLM at Circle Get Square for help formatting some HTML on the background photo.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Easy A

A month ago I saw the trailer for Easy A and thought, oh no, the Scarlet Letter converted into a High School satire. This will not work. This looks terrible. Then I was offered up a months early free screening. Okay, I will be there. What happened was something that made me sad for a different reason.

The movie starts and we get a couple good jokes. Then the credits are rolling the cast list. It keeps getting more and more impressive. Okay, this could be good. Then we get the You Tube video diary. Move two spaces back. Then Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson show up. Move two spaces forward. I struggled with this movie throughout the entire run time of the film.

Easy A is very close to good. It is one draft away from being a great biting satire. It is so close to being pitch perfect. But the middling of tone and self awareness that helps keep balance during the movie also keeps it from being great. It's taking no chances. There is nothing here to set it above the rest. This is more like a crazy cousin than a cool uncle. I'm tired of movies referencing other movies. On the one hand, you're obviously stealing from what has come before. And how do we get away with it? By pointing it out directly. Hey, yeah we know John Hughes made this movie. Yeah we understand jokes about lawn mowers from "Can't Buy Me Love".

The cast must have signed on because of the script. They saw something in it that they felt was worth seeing it put to screen. No one is earning a paycheck here. Thomas Hayden Church, Emma Stone, Cam Gigandet (showing he can be in on the fun too, playing the oldest high schooler, which he did years earlier in The O.C.), Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell as well as Stanley and Patricia I mentioned earlier. Also Amanda Bynes, whom I almost didn't recognize. And why should I, never having seen any of her shows or movies before.

It was also the first time I have ever seen the lead actor billed last. I think it was because they wanted her name to show up when we first see her on screen, but it was still strange. Overall, it follows some beats of the Scarlet Letter. It's a high school comedy. But there are some subversive things here. I would say it would rank along movies like Fired Up and She's Out of Your League. But better than those (but not by much). This won't make money. It will be on Comedy Central repeats a lot. It won't be marketed well and you'll see the commerical and think "look at that garbage. Pass." but you really could do a lot worse. All I ask for from a comedy are laughs, and there are plenty here.

Did you enjoy it?

Would you see it in theaters again?
Possibly. But only if part of a double feature or another free screening with nothing else going on.

Would you buy it?

Would you rent it?

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Stanley Cup Champions

Congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks for winning the Stanley Cup! This is the second championship that Chicago has brought home since I've lived here. And they are going in the order of importance.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Get Him to the Greek

Get Him to the Greek is an anomaly. It's the first non-comic spin off movie in quite a while. I really can't think of any offhand (but I'm sure there are some / one). Taking a character who stole some scenes in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and putting him front and center was a risky choice. But I do think it is successful more than not.

In this tale, Aldus Snow, lead singer of Infant Sorrow has made his worst album, gotten divorced and fallen off the wagon. But a record exec looking to make a name for himself has suggested to his boss that Infant Sorrow should put on a 10th anniversary show at the famous Greek Theater. To be honest, when I first saw the title of the movie I thought they were going to have to get him to the head of the mob, or something. Never having been to L.A. I am oblivious.

The movie is super raunchy. That could have been guessed since it falls under the Apatow producing umbrella. But for two thirds of a movie it is also really funny. Not necessarily super quotable, but there are laughs. Sean Combs does his best to steal the show, the same way Russell Brand did in FSM. The smartest thing Puffy does is to act deadly serious while delivering his lines.

The third act makes the expected turn into the emotional, leaving the jokes behind. It's a choice that some feel gives it that Apatow comedy heart, I think it doesn't ring true. I'm not saying a rock star shouldn't learn a lesson, but all the filth you just showed us, I don't think the audience would blame you if we ended the movie and he didn't learn a single lesson. Our relatable character is supposed to be Aaron Green, the record exec played by Jonah Hill. So, you have the right to do whatever you want with Aldus Snow. But they went another direction.

Did you enjoy it?

Would you see it in theaters again?

Would you buy it?

Would you rent it?
Yes. There must be tons of extra comedy that didn't make the final cut that would be worth seeing.

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?