Archive for movie reviews

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008) movie

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2008 by funofmovie

Also Known As:     South of the Border

Production Status:     In Production/Awaiting Release

Logline:     Mitzi, a pampered Beverly Hills Chihuahua accustomed to riding in a purse goes to a spa vacation in Mexico with her owner, but when she gets lost she is forced to find her way back home.

Genres:     Action/Adventure and Comedy

Release Date:     October 3rd, 2008 (wide)

MPAA Rating:     PG for some mild thematic elements.

Distributors:     Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Production Co.:     Mandeville Films/TV, Smart Entertainment

Studios:     Walt Disney Pictures

Filming Locations:     Mexico

Produced in:     United States

Starring:      Drew Barrymore, George Lopez, Andy Garcia, Piper Perabo, Manolo Cardona

Directed by:     Raja Gosnell

Produced by:     Steven Nicolaides, John L. Jacobs, David Hoberman


GO  BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA Undersized lapdogs make me grumpy even when they don’t talk, wear pink booties and shop Rodeo Drive.

So I came to Beverly Hills Chihuahua with poison pen at the ready — only to be won over by the exuberant charms of Raja Gosnell’s comedy about a snobby, privileged Chihuahua named Chloe (voiced by Drew Barrymore) and her similarly spoiled-rotten 90210 dog ­sitter (Piper Perabo). The twosome grow some backbone when they get lost in the bowels of Baja, where the pooch must be rescued from the clutches of Mexican dogfight wranglers.

If the studios are finally going to make their mark on Latino audiences, they could do a lot worse than this wicked satire on Beverly Hills pet excess, with its sharp script, a fun performance by Jamie Lee Curtis as Chloe’s overindulgent owner, and a mostly Spanish-speaking cast that includes Andy Garcia as a clapped-out police dog, Cheech Marin as a cunning rat who’s after Chloe’s Harry Winston collar, and George Lopez as a Chihuahua from the wrong side of the tracks who loves Chloe. This being Disney, wholesome character-building messages abound, but for once they’re freshly spun as cautions against stereotyping both ethnic and canine.

And if, having seen Beverly Hills Chihuahua, your children grow up without the desire to turn their pets into idiot fashion accessories or extensions of their own shopaholic fantasies, so much the better. (Citywide) (Ella Taylor)

An American Carol movie

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , on October 1, 2008 by funofmovie

An American Carol movie

Also Known As:   An American Carol

Production Status:     In Production/Awaiting Release

Genres:     Comedy

Release Date:     October 3rd, 2008 (wide)

MPAA Rating:     PG-13 for rude and irreverent content, and for language and brief drug material.

Distributors:   Vivendi Entertainment

Production Co.: Mpower Pictures

Filming Locations:  Los Angeles, California, United States

Produced in: United States

Starring:       Kelsey Grammer, Jon Voight, Trace Adkins, James Woods, Jon Voight

Directed by:     David Zucker

Produced by:     David Zucker, Steve McEveety, John Shepherd

Back in the ol’ underclassmen days at college I befriended a number of budding garage band music artists who were always happy to give me their home-burned CDs that were destined to take them to high places. They all sucked. Every song. I keep these little mementos as a reminder some people shouldn’t have dreams. Of the many terrible qualities of these songs is their piercing ability to stick to your psyche long after you’ve tried drinking the memories away.

One of the many songs still stuck in my head eight years after I heard it for the first and only team is a nice little number entitled “Sick of America” by some liberal student I knew. Much like the title, the song was an endless predictable rhyme about how other nations are more fun than America. I’ll even admit other nations have their charms and youth should be spent exploring the world and expanding horizons. It doesn’t mean the song doesn’t suck.

I mention all of this only because I’m reviewing the latest David Zucker film “An American Carol.” The movie targeted America haters and reinforced an idea that had been in my head for a long time; if you’re sick of America, leave.

It’s a rare treat for me to be invited to a movie premier, and the pre-screening party didn’t skimp any expense. A modern version of the Andrews Sisters calling themselves “The Liberty Belles” (Apparently they’re USO regulars) danced and sang onstage while the open bar attracted my interest. Three hours of partying and it was time to get to the movie theatre.

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08-08-08 movie night

Posted in Movie releases with tags , on August 6, 2008 by funofmovie

It’s not only the day for great 2008 Summer Olympics opening in Beijing, some new summer flicks are also opening this Friday. A film to everybody’s taste, that’s what I think of this Friday’s movie premieres.

Elegy starring (Wackness) and (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) is an adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winner Philip Roth’s short novel The Dying Animal. The movie also stars Dennis Hopper, Patricia Clarkson, and Peter Sarsgaard.

Elegy is a story about a celebrated college professor (Kingsley) who finds his life in upheaval after he begins a romance with a young beautiful woman (Cruz). With humanistic warmth, wry wit and erotic intensity, Elegy explores the power of beauty to blind, to reveal and to transform.

As critics say, Elegy is a “gorgeous looking film with a wry and clever script.” Cruz’s “ability to appear as if she’s actually thinking and responding organically to each situation” is highly praised. As for , he’s “the most formidable and convincing of all the good actors who have adorned the middle-aged-professor films.” Generally, the film is described as one “thoughtful filmgoers can’t afford to miss.”

The perfect game

Well, in case you’re more into sports films on Friday night, you can watch true-story-based The Perfect Game, the story of a team of poor boys from Monterrey, Mexico, who became the first non-U.S. team to win the Little League World Series in 1957. It was a perfect game, the only one in championship history.

And one more true-story based premiere. This time it’s not about sports but wine. Bottle Shock is the story of the early days of California wine making featuring the now infamous, blind Paris wine tasting of 1976 that has come to be known as “Judgment of Paris.” In this film Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman, 29 Palms) is struggling to create the perfect chardonnay at his vineyard.

The film reveals America’s initiation into and contribution to vinification, along with the brave and enterprising people who love nothing more than to bottle it.

Bottle Shock

Beer for my horses is a comedy about two best friends who work together as deputies in a small town. When girlfriend (Claire Forlani, Meet Joe Black) of one of them got kidnapped by a drug lord, they decided to defy their boss, Sheriff Landry, and chase the kidnappers down. They head off on an outrageous road trip to save the girl.

And here’s also something for big grindhouse fans. produced Hell Ride reminds of the days of spaghetti westerns and tells the story of two biker gangs. Writer/director Larry Bishop stars as Pistolero, head of the Victors, a group of badass bikers who are out to avenge murder of one of their members by the rival gang, 666ers.

According to some reviews, the pulpy dialogue preceding the violent eruptions bears the mark of Tarantino. Well, we’ll see. Larry Bishop made a twisting, multilayered tale of revenge, loyalty, and brotherhood that is brought to life by a superb ensemble cast of Dennis Hopper, Vinnie Jones, Michael Madsen, and David Carradine. In the words of Comanche, one of the heroes, “The road to hell is paved with anything but good intentions.”

Hell Ride

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Pineapple Express movie- Date release 6 August 2008

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , on August 2, 2008 by funofmovie
The Pineapple Express

The Pineapple Express

Genres: Action/Adventure and Comedy
Release Date: August 6th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, drug use, sexual references and violence.
Distributors: Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by David Gordon Green.

Starring: Gary Cole, Rosie Perez, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny R. McBride, Amber Heard.

I won’t get into the precise reasons, but my friends always seem to think I’m going to LOVE the next big “pot comedy.” They chuckle and assume such silly things despite the fact that the only real pothead comedies that I truly enjoy are Up in Smoke, Next Movie, and a large portion of the Harold & Kumar misadventures. Frankly I’m of the opinion that most pot comedies feel like they were written by someone very stoned, and let’s just say that writers don’t always do their best work when they’re extra-baked. (They might THINK their stuff is hilarious, but usually it’s not. That’s just the weed talking.) Oh, you’ll definitely find a few cannabis-caked giggles in Half-Baked, Grandma’s Boy, and Smiley Face — just not enough to sustain a whole movie, if it’s me you’re asking.

So it is with much pleasure, enthusiasm, and recently-applied Visine that I offer you Pineapple Express, which just may be the Casablanca of Pot Comedies. Or perhaps it’s more like When Ultra-High Harry Met Super-Stoned Sally, but either way Pineapple Express showcases some of the funniest “weed culture” insights since the arrival of Richard Linklater’s fantastic Dazed & Confused — which I wouldn’t call a full-bore “pot comedy,” but it sure isn’t shy about passing those joints around. Best of all, while Pineapple Express will absolutely appeal to both the casual and committed pot-smokers, it’s also just a very funny buddy comedy / action flick parody that comes bearing the very unique stamp of director David Gordon Green.

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Swing Vote movie review- date release 1 august 2008

Posted in Movies with tags , , , on July 31, 2008 by funofmovie
Swing Vote movie

Swing Vote movie

Genres: Comedy
Release Date: August 1st, 2008 (wide)
Distributors: Walt Disney Pictures
Starring: Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper, Nathan Lane, Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci
Directed by: Joshua Michael Stern
Produced by: Ted Field, Terry Dougas, Kevin Costner

Ashirley Temple movie camouflaged as political Capra-corn, Swing Vote has one lively satiric idea in its midsection: With a presidential election to be decided by a lone, unbathed New Mexico redneck (Kevin Costner, starting out with a Billy Bob Thornton impression and gradually assuming his familiar persona), the candidates produce TV spots with content dictated solely by the media-besieged drunk’s ill-informed, tentative interviews. The Republican incumbent (Kelsey Grammer) pledges support for gay marriage, surrounded by a gaggle of queer cops, firemen and soldiers; the Democratic challenger (Dennis Hopper), convinced the swing voter is pro-life, walks through a playground as kids disappear in puffs of smoke, vowing to curb abortions. Then the movie goes right back to its timid, colorless approximation of an electoral pageant that serves as mere backdrop to its trailer-home domestic treacle.

Twelve-year old Molly (proficient, automaton-like Madeline Carroll) is caretaker, mother and spouse to Costner’s laid-off, lazy dad Bud Johnson. A civic-minded monomaniac, she warns him on Election Day to vote “or I’m leaving you”; he doesn’t, she tries to cast a ballot in his place, and the subsequent contrivances find her using the 10-day run-up to Bud’s “revote” as a battle to complete his rehabilitation as citizen and father. Partying through the shower of perks (poker on Air Force One, a white-trash banquet featuring his newly-paroled Willie Nelson cover band) lavished on him by rival campaign Machiavellis (Stanley Tucci and Nathan Lane), Bud—whose name is the most shameless of the movie’s product placements—is bound, after 110 minutes of moronic indulgence, to make a sobering reassessment of his failures and fateful choice before a national debate audience in the penultimate scene. Cynics of all stripes crumble before the tears and perorations of all-powerful Molly, including the local news reporter (Paula Patton) whose ambition and sinister tactics will be chucked at the 11th hour.

It’s a hard call as to whether Swing Vote’s mirthlessness is more oppressive than its insulting idea of Costner’s loser as the working-class salt of the earth, or if its dishonesty takes the prize. Bud professes great “respect” for the two whorish pols who’ve been lying to procure his decisive vote; Costner’s Field of Dreams Everyman would’ve told them to fuck off, voted third party and let the House of Representatives decide the election. (Molly has a throwaway line during the opening credits about the major parties’ abandonment of the poor, and that’s the last note hit in that key by Jason Richman and director Joshua Michael Stern’s script.) An inflated, dumbed-down variation on the 1939 John Barrymore vehicle The Great Man Votes, Swing Vote is as tired as its stunt of casting a dozen cable-news blowhards as themselves. Replacing its father-love syrup with genuine election-year vinegar would be change you could believe in, or at least stay awake through.

Midnight Meat Train – movie release 1 august 2008

Posted in Movies with tags , on July 31, 2008 by funofmovie
Midnight Meat Train

Midnight Meat Train

Release Date: August 1, 2008

Main Cast Bradley Cooper, Brooke Shields, Vinnie Jones
Supporting Cast     Leslie Bibb, Roger Bart, Peter Jacobson, Barbara Eve Harris
Director Ryuhei Kitamura
Screenwriter Jeff Buhler
Distributor     Lionsgate
Official Site     http://www.lionsgate.com/midnightmeattrain

Easily the best Clive Barker adaptation since the first Hellraiser film, Ryuhei Kitamura’s The Midnight Meat Train is so absolutely a “horror fans only” experience that I’m not surprised that Lionsgate wants to give it only a cursory theatrical release before dumping it into DVD. I do not mean that as a knock on the film. As a matter of fact, this is certainly one of the most effective horror films of the year — but man, oh man… it would be a really tough sell on 1,200 screens. It’s kind of an unfair catch-22 where certain horror movies are concerned: if you “go dark,” dabble in grimness, and don’t cater to the under-18 crowd, then there’s a good chance your “hardcore” horror movie will debut on DVD (at best) or, like The Mist and The Ruins, arrive in theaters very quietly.

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America the Beautiful – Movie release August 1 2008

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , on July 31, 2008 by funofmovie

America the beautiful Movie

Release Date:August 1, 2008 (NY; LA release: August 22)
Studio: First Independent Pictures
Director: Darryl Roberts
Starring: Gerren Taylor, Eve Ensler, Julianne Moore, Anthony Kiedis, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton
Genre: Documentary
Official Website: AmericaTheBeautifulDoc.com

The United States of America is known for being one of the wealthiest nations on the planet with the most opportunities for its citizens. In 2004 alone, Americans spent $12.4 billion (yes, billion!) on cosmetic surgery. With such an abundance of wealth, why are Americans so discontent?

In almost 40,000 media messages a year, youthful Americas are being told that, unless you look like supermodels and rock stars, you’re not good enough for anyone to love. This is a message that too many people are buying.

At the heart of “America the Beautiful” is the story of Gerren Taylor, a teenager who went from being an innocent 12 year old girl to being one of America’s next top supermodels. As she and her mother head down the windy road to stardom, viewers watch the dichotomy between Gerren’s adolescent struggles and her adult “rights of passage” on the catwalks of Marc Jacobs, DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger and other top designers. Her tumultuous quest acts as a mirror to the American psyche, and it becomes apparent how the same beauty that could jump-start her career could ultimately destroy her young life.