Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Public Enemies (2009)
Mann Limits Dillinger/Depp in Otherwise Great 'Public Enemies'
Hollywood has tried to make history more exciting in movies. 10,000 B.C, Braveheart, 300 and even The Da Vinci Code had some social studies packed in it somewhere. Public Enemies tries to retell the story of John Dillinger, the notorious 1930s bank robber. But who could portray Dillinger? Nobody could possibly live up to play him
but Johnny Depp looks a little bit like the guy. Enter Depp as Dillinger, opening the movie being taken to prison. He later tricks the guards and shortly him and the other convicts escape. And what do you know, Johnny robs some more banks, and the rest is pretty much repeated for the whole two and a half hour runtime. It's only when Christian Bale enters the scene when the movie gets exciting. Bale plays FBI Bureau chief Melvin Purvis, a guy who is just losing his mind over the bank robber. "He's making a mockery of the U.S justice system!" He follows him to cabins, movie theaters, apartments, etc, etc. His role is one of the best in the movie; however not to say that the rest of the cast was bad (Marion Cottilard especially was fantastic), it's that Bale once again really gets into his role as he always does. The Dark Knight, Rescue Dawn, Terminator Salvation. Now remember questions were stirring when the posters for Public Enemies came out and Bale wasn't on any of them? Because this is Depp's movie, not Christian Bale's; he's had his fair share! What Enemies is saying is fairly simple: "Depp is back, bitches." Michael Mann is no stranger to shoot-em-up flicks. This is the guy who directed Miami Vice, Collateral, Heat and produced The Kingdom, Hancock and Nobody Loves Alice among many others. One thing that you notice is that his style of film-making is that of a documentarian or a Michael Bay movie. The gunshot scenes are explosive, yet you won't know who's shooting who or what. My friend even pointed out that the top of the character's heads aren't visible for nearly half of the movie. In the beginning this is kind of funky (did I just say that?), but by the third shoot-out, it's pretty damn annoying.
Public Enemies isn't that bad of a movie, but it's not fantastic either. It is, however, the most historically accurate movie about the golden age of crime I've seen so far. Don't rush out and see it, but don't skip out on what is yet another memorable role for Johnny Depp without Tim Burton.
'Brüno' a Hilarious, Controversial and Vulgar Joyride
I remember when Borat came out; that was awesome. We hadn't seen anything like it before: an actor interviewing actual people out of nowhere and filming their reactions! Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham and Dan Mazer's screenplay even landed the mockumentary an Oscar nod in 2007 and it still remains one of the most quoted movies of the 21st Century. Now there's Brüno, another movie based off of Cohen's multiple personas on Da Ali G Show. Unlike Borat, Brüno is a gay Austrian fashionista. In his self-titled movie, he's fired from his television show in Austria due to a wardrobe malfunction at a fashion show (count how many times they use the word fashion in the movie, it's fun). So he figures that he could make it in America as an even bigger star. "I want to be the biggest Austrian star since Hitler." So away we go, Brüno tries to get his own U.S TV show, similar to the one he previously had. But who cares about the plot? We got Sacha Baron Cohen wearing thongs in pretty much every scene, looking a guy in the eyes as he watches him have sex with a fat chick, fighting a martial arts instructor with three dildos and believe me, it gets worse. It's rude, vulgar, unnecessary and downright offensive. And it's pretty goddamn funny.
So the big question here is whether or not this tops Borat. Don't ask that question, man. The two movies are crafted out of the same material (Cohen starring and writing, Larry Charles directing) and both have the same goal of offending everyone that the hour and twenty-eight minutes runtime will allow. They're both funny, leave it at that! I'm sure that if you picked apart Brüno that you could find something wrong with it, or you could just laugh and go wherever the movie takes you. And it does take you on some pretty wacky trips. A swinger's club, a Jerry Springer/Maury Povich type talk show, the Middle East (which Brüno calls the "Middle Earth"). Picking on America's problems seems to be Larry Charles' strong suit, poking fun at our religious beliefs with Bill Maher in Religulous (which rocked) last fall and directing Borat in 2006 as well. And major film tres for Charles is no exception, this time proving that underneath everything, Americans are all just homophobic bastards.
Brüno is hilarious. It enters my funniest movies of 2009 list, joining The Hangover and Observe and Report. Larry Charles and Sacha Baron Cohen have created a whirlwind of controversy, so much that my cinema blocked off that certain theater to keep kids out by sitting outside for the entire thing. So the movie consists of penises talking and dumb runway models. We don't need to see that. And because of that, that's exactly why you need to. Mission accomplished, Mr. Cohen. Er, Brüno.
In the Loop (2009)
We May Have Found Summer's Sleep with 'In The Loop', America
Political comedy is a hard stunt to pull off. Ever since 1964, it seemed like nothing could top Dr. Strangelove. A lot of movies have tried and a lot have failed, although there were the lucky few that passed the bar (Election, Thank You for Smoking) but the brilliant thing about In The Loop is that it's so stupidly funny that it's one of the best comedies of the 21st Century! Armando Iannucci, most known for his The Thick of It series in the UK, directs a movie with the a the familiar theme of The Office. That documentary-style of film-making can be hit-or-miss (most recently, Public Enemies, a miss) and Iannucci hits it right on. Every scene he graces with a camera comes out picture perfect; nobody could've pegged this movie any better. Iannucci, Jesse Armstrong, Tony Roche and Simon Blackwell's script is something out of picture show heaven and sounds like it must've taken forever to finish, edit, revise, etc. Although these guys, these geniuses, apparently know what they're doing and don't care what anybody else says. That is the heart and soul of movie-making, readers. In The Loop is about a corrupt British government that accidentally gets the country thrown into the middle of a war. Loop stars Peter Capaldi, Gina McKee, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison and there's even a whimsical cameo by Steve Coogan. Capaldi is the absolute best at what he did, spewing swears as coarse as they are a riot ("fuck you, you lubricated horse cock!") and freaking out. I can't even put into words just how funny this guy was; he made the movie! But don't forget Addison as Toby. Addison is the British Napoleon Dynamite, that incredibly awkward guy that makes even the audience members turn red. James Gandolfini and Gina McKee round out the rest of the cast greatly, filling In The Loop with the type of sexual tension that you don't want to think about. It's like when a sex scene pops up on a DVD you're watching with your parents. Yeah, that bad.In The Loop is one of the most laugh out loud comedies I've seen in the past decade, that sadly nobody will get a chance to watch. In a world of Transformers and G.I Joe, In The Loop will sadly be ignored. But on an optimistic note, we may have found this summer's sleeper, America.
Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)
'Monsters vs. Aliens' Confusing and Forgettable, yet Charming
It was the perfect alien movie parody- an outer-being invades Earth and a bunch of dim-witted monsters have to stop him. Add the fact that DreamWorks Animation (Shrek, Kung Fu Panda) is behind it should make it to be a hit! But ever since Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, DreamWorks has been going downhill. Pixar and them were always competing to be the top studio, DreamWorks constantly casting major stars to voice (Aliens no exception) and Pixar always winning awards (Wall-E took home the Oscar for 'Best Animated Feature' last year). But even celebrities couldn't save this train wreck of a movie. The predicaments are frankly unlikely and dumb, and a lot of the scenes are left unexplained, the ending for one. Directors Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon, who have both been with DreamWorks Animation for quite a while, Vernon having been since the first Shrek movie, attempt to create a parody of alien invasion movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and may have done just that. In a scene where the president (Stephen Colbert, hilarious but unnecessary) tries to communicate with the foreign ship, he plays a keyboard, obviously spoofing Close Encounters. It'll have you snickering.
But snickering alone does not make a good comedy. A good comedy has to have a few sight gags, evenly spaced jokes and a fairly funny cast. The cast is great, and I'm not referring to their talents. Monsters vs. Aliens stars Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen (whose character is pretty much the best part of the movie), Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett (we also get a cameo from Amy Poehler), Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Paul Rudd, Renée Zellweger, John Krasinski (you know him from The Office), Ed Helms (him too), Julie White, Jeffrey Tambor and, as I mentioned before, Stephen Colbert. Of course, we also have small parts played by DreamWorks regulars including the directors plus Sean Bishop, Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Lisa Stewart, Latifa Ouaou and Geoffrey Pomeroy. A huge cast means huge money, which Monsters is sure to make.
In Monsters vs. Aliens, a meteorite from outer space hits a young girl, Susan (Witherspoon), on her wedding day, turning her into a nearly 50 foot woman. She's taken to a secret government lair with other monsters that have been kept hidden: B.O.B (Rogen), Dr. Cockroach (Laurie), The Missing Link (Arnett) and Insectosaurus. When the world faces an alien invasion by Gallhaxar (Wilson) soon after, General W.R Monger (Sutherland) suggests to President Hathaway (Colbert) to release the secret monsters and see if they can handle the situation better than the government can. "Oooze gonna save us?" B.O.B, no contest. The giant blob of blue goo saved the movie entirely. If it wasn't for the Seth Rogen voiced character, Monsters would have fell flat. "I think that Jell-O gave me a fake phone number."
Monsters vs. Aliens is the latest rocket that DreamWorks attempts to land on the moon. It doesn't land anywhere near Kung Fu Panda or Flushed Away, but it's enjoyable if you don't think too much about it. It's full of spoofs, cameos and some goofs only the adults in the audience will get (a pretty funny one from The Colbert Report, watch for it). You get a few giggles, but no real laugh-out-loud moments come from it.
Pixar's still going strong, but DreamWorks is staring to create epic money-making bombs.
2/5 popcorn buckets.
I Love You, Man (2009)
Outstanding Cast and Screenplay Made Me Fall in Love With 'I Love You, Man'
It's been a while since we've had a movie from John Hamburg. His last creation was the hit Along Came Polly, which, thanks to Ben Stiller, pretty much launched his career as a writer/director/producer. So 5 years after the release of Polly, we have I Love You, Man, a movie about a guy who's getting married and goes on a series of "man-dates" to find a best man for his wedding. Before I saw this, I researched a lot about it. First I noticed it was co-written/directed/produced by John Hamburg, as I mentioned earlier in the review. This shocked me a bit, since similar Forgetting Sarah Marshall was directed by Nicholas Stoller. It also starred Jason Segel, so I was expecting him to write the screenplay. But instead, Hamburg and Larry Levin (who also co-wrote Dr. Dolittle and wrote Dr. Dolittle 2) took on the challenge together. Disappointing since I loved Sarah Marshall so much. But I'm not counting out Hamburg just yet. He did nail the feel that he and Levin intended the movie to have, that "bromantic" parody which had me cracking up at scenes that I wasn't even supposed to be laughing at. The jokes could've been hit-and-miss, but Hamburg made sure that they were spaced out and spoke awesomely. Paul Rudd plays realtor Peter, a friendless but lovable geek who needs to find a best man for his wedding with Zooey (played by a gorgeous and side-splitting Rashida Jones). At an open house for Lou Ferrigno (who's a surprising gem), he stumbles upon Sydney (Jason Segel), a careless, go-with-the-flow kind of guy who refuses to grow up. The two hit it off and soon Sydney's RSVP'd for Peter's wedding. Rudd and Segel have both had their fair share of hits, both sleeper and those that have topped the charts. Segel's had Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, both of which Rudd starred in, and let's also not forget his recurring role as Marshall on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Rudd has had classics thanks to Judd Apatow like The 40-Year Old Virgin and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story as well as loners like Role Models and The Ten. Together, the duo is unstoppable. Rudd's quiet awkwardness and Segel's loudmouth obnoxiousness blend together to make a pitch- perfect comedy of epic proportions. I Love You, Man is a feel-good, happy movie that desperately doesn't want to be. Whenever there's a moment where that statement can be expressed, the "F" word is dropped and kills the mood entirely. There's not as much cursing as in Observe and Report, and it's not quite as vulgar as Forgetting Sarah Marshall (although there was a pretty gross sight gag) were, yet Love You, Man still holds the 'R' rating. It had to be, though, in the tradition of comedies such as this one. With only a 'PG-13' rating, John Hamburg might not have achieved his goal. We'll remember I Love You, Man as one of the best comedies of our time. It's full of zingy one-liners like "I will see you there, or I will see you at another time!" "
Okay, that was confusing, will you be there or not?". Other roles besides those of Rudd, Segel and Jones are filled brilliantly by Jamie Pressly, Jon Favreau and Andy Samberg. And there's this one hilarious part with Thomas Lennon where
you know what? Go see it for yourself. I love this movie, man.