Sunday, April 26, 2009

Crank: High Voltage

What the bloody hell was that?  I am actually happy that I saw Crank: High Voltage because if someone attempted to explain it to me I would be offended that they would blatantly lie to my face like that.  This was a truly awful movie, so awful that I will remember it for some time to come.

Honestly, there were scenes in Crank High Voltage that when I attempt to write them out I no longer believe that they occurred.  When the first scene of the movie is Jason Statham surviving being thrown out of a helicopter then having open heart surgery with people knocking ashes into his chest and spitting on his internal organs, there wasn’t much lower for it to go.  Instead they just kept digging new holes to throw this movie down.  Shotgun shoved up a guys ass (check), stripper getting shot through her breast implants with leaking fluid (check), full on cinemax level sex scene with pixilation (check), guy knifing off his own nipples (check), weird puppet version of a fight scene (check), severed head being kept alive with max headroom voice (check), and Corey Haim (check).  I want to stop thinking about this movie now.

One of the days I will figure out how Jason Statham chooses his scripts.  Because there must be some calculus formula that will explain why someone would sign on to Crank: High Voltage.  But for now all I can say is screw this movie for causing me such mental anguish.

1 out of 10

State of Play

This seems a tad bit early in the year for a flick like State of Play.  Thankfully, this was right in my wheelhouse and delivered on every possible level.  You couldn’t ask for a tighter story with an overflowing amount of solid performances.  This right here is why I love going to the theater.

These types of political intrigue movies come out by the dozen every year, so you really have to excel in order to be noticed.  State of Play was plotted to the last second and just kept you involved with the mystery until the credits rolled.  It seems like once a month I’m reading or watching a story based on Private Military Contractors.  They are definitely the new hotness.  On top of that, we got The Wire part 2 with the death of the newspaper industry.  It was all wound together into a damn near perfect story.  Getting into any more details would blow the mystery.

If getting an A+ plot wasn’t enough, the entire cast decided to step up and not get outshined by the person standing next to them.  You will never go wrong with Russell Crowe as the name on the top of the poster.  This was one of his classic performances, 30 pounds overweight, ratty hair, and just a regular guy.  He has this innate ability to just disappear into each role.  I don’t really have the space to breakdown the performance of everyone else in the cast, so let’s make this quick.  This was a fantastic non-jokey Ben Affleck role, the always impressive Helen Mirren, the first memorable dramatic performance by Rachel McAdams, scene-stealing Jason Bateman, a new favorite in Harry Lennix, drop by for Jeff Daniels, and you know applause for just about anyone else who appeared in front of the camera and spoke a line.

I would have expected such a deep political drama to be released after Thanksgiving, so State of Play was a nice surprise for the month of April.  Plus, I now have my first top 10 flick for 2009 unless I am lucky enough to get 10 more movies better than this.

9 out of 10 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Observe and Report

Hmm, slightly disappointing.  Seth Rogen is and will always be funny when on camera but there just wasn’t a strong reason for this movie to exist.  Observe and Report was just an R rated movie that went out of its way to earn it.  I’m not even sure what the point was; I think something about Seth figuring out his place in this big bad world.

My guess would be that Rogen took on Observe and Report because he got to be just about the biggest asshole he could possibly portray in an hour and a half.  In the beginning it was funny but he just kept acting crazier and crazier.  It just became annoying by about the halfway point.  Everybody else in the flick were just playing over-the-top characters so once again it was amusing to hear Michael Pena talk the first time or watch Anna Faris pull into work at the beginning of the story, but it all became tiring.  Check that, Pena should speak like this in every movie he ever appears in.

Still, I laughed in consistent intervals and got cameos by Patton Oswalt and Aziz Ansari so lets call it a wash.  Observe and Report was a forgettable comedy that never really clicked.

5 out of 10


Adventureland was a truly odd movie.  On one hand it was Greg Mottola’s followup to Superbad and he was mining the same coming of age vein but he was going for deep and meaningful this time, which definitely lessened the funny.  It never reached the level of Superbad but Kristen Stewart made it worthwhile.

Whenever Kristen Stewart is given material to work with she impresses me; I have no idea if that means Twilight since I haven’t been blessed by its presence yet.  Soon soon.  She provided all the weight in Adventureland.  I hope as she ages she gets better and better roles.  After Stewart, all of my praise goes to the bit players, Ryan Reynolds, Kristen Wiig, and Bill Hader.  Reynolds was able to straddle the line between cool and douchebag just right.  While Wiig and Hader were the comedic backbone of the entire movie, there is a whole film that I would pay twice to see with those characters.

The problem with Adventureland was that it was boring.  At times it was funny and at times it was touching, but at the other times it was paint drying.  There was only so much the 1987 setting could carry.  Still, it had a strong batting average so it was worthwhile.

7 out of 10 

Fast & Furious

Ah Vin Diesel … it’s been awhile.  There was a time when you provided me endless amounts of amusement.  I would not go so far as to say I want to see more Vin Diesel films but I would not be opposed to a new Fast & Furious movie every 2 years.  Now for another backtrack, I am not praising Fast & Furious so please don’t get the wrong impression.  Still, there will always be 10 plus dollars waiting for them no matter how bad the movies become.  I’m a conundrum.

It’s a freaking Fast & Furious film!  You have to know what you are getting into before the theater goes dark.  And for the fourth time they delivered fancy cars and barely clothed females for close to 2 hours.  Was there supposed to more?  YES!  Where’s Tyrese?  Where’s Romey Rome?!?!  Sure getting the original gang back together was a nice hook but you could have thrown in at least a bone to the second flick.  They threw in Han from Tokyo Drift which was nice but no one from 2 Fast?  Come on give me something, Ludacris or Devon Aoki, just a quick cameo.  Bah.  There will always be more in the franchise so they can make it right down the road.

Do I really need to breakdown the performances of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, and Michelle Rodriguez?  Seriously?  My disdain for Mr. Diesel is known and there was absolutely nothing here to change that opinion.  That man has one gear and he is not changing for anybody.  There were a couple scenes where he literally kept the same exact look while the movie cut back to him multiple times.  Plus, it was supposed to be a heartfelt moment and I kept thinking that the editor slipped in a still photo over and over again.  Walker is Walker and he can continue his Keanu level career.  The Rodriguez thing pissed me off just because I am a big fan of hers.  I don’t remember a single thing about Brewster so at least she didn’t piss me off.

I can’t believe I am still writing about Fast & Furious!  This is my own fault.  I have already stated that I will pay for new flicks in the franchise no matter how poor of a product they deliver.  I cannot be trusted.

5 out of 10


The most celebrated graphic novel of all-time, is that true?  Was this officially measured or are we just assuming that if you were to rank the level of celebration Watchmen would be the victor?  I guess that is not important because it is just nice to have a film version of such a groundbreaking work. 

I avoided rereading Watchmen before the release of the film version because I had no desire to nitpick while sitting in the theater.  Zach Snyder has made visually stunning movies in his short career so I wanted to judge his work for what it is not for what I expected it to be.  Watchmen was a slick movie with a handful of memorable scenes.  Jackie Earle Haley was able to take one of the greatest comic book characters ever, Rorschach, and bring him completely to life.  He was responsible for so many great moments, “I’m not locked in here with you, you’re locked in here with me”, “give me back my face”, his final scene, it was just an unreal performance.  Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson were also fantastic as The Comedian and Nite Owl respectively.  In fact I have nothing really negative to say about the rest of the cast, well, I would have preferred a more memorable Veidt but jeez the cast of characters were deep and you can’t expect a 100% success rate.

The main knocks I have about Watchmen were the labyrinth-like storyline and length.  Look, I read the book and still felt lost a couple of times nothing serious just motivations are never all that clear when it came to the “villains”.  As for the length, it wasn’t boring but anything pushing 3 hours feels like its been 3 hours.  Yet even at the super-sized length character arcs were just left on the editing room floor.  Nothing I just wrote about are killers, just blemishes preventing another The Dark Knight.

For something deemed unfilmable, Watchmen was indeed filmable.  In fact they filmed and released it to the masses.  It was a strong effort that just missed the mark.

8 our of 10