Tuesday, July 24, 2012

LOL (2012)

Teenage girl gets heart-broken and falls in love with best friend, what a new and innovative idea for a film. In the case that you didn't catch the sarcasm, please cease reading this and smack your palm against your forehead because I'm too busy right now to do it for you.

LOL (2012) has a slight tweak in the plot as it also focuses on the mother-daughter relationship between Lola (Miley Cyrus) and her mother Anne (Demi Moore). Unfortunately that's as much as this film wants to stretch. About 10 minutes in I was less interested in the actually plot or character development and was just focusing on counting how many bad cliches were used throughout the film. Suffice it to say I lost count. 

The cast is a little bit of a mish-mashed ensemble of random actors and actresses and although those types of mashes have paid off in the past, this is not one of those times. The only two actors I enjoyed in the film were Adam Sevani (Moose from the Step Up 2 and so on) and Jean-Luc Bilodeau (played Josh Trager in Kyle XY, an ABC Family Series I used to watch). Both of which had very little screen time and I think that's a good thing for both of their careers.

There are a select chunk of people that think  Miley Cyrus is attractive, and that's mainly because they only see massively airbrushed stills of her. She has a butterface plain and simple. I don't want to come off like I'm hating on her too much. She may not be super attractive like some other young stars but she does well with her target audience and seems to have found her niche in the entertainment industry. I just don't fall into any of those categories and I think she's a little over-hyped. I don't often mind singers crossing over into acting but please Miley just stick to what you're moderately good at and are excessively overpaid for. 

I doubt there will be many die hard Miley fans reading this but I would like to apologize to them for a little bit of a hateful rant.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't finish the movie. I got like 40 minutes in and just stopped caring. I'm pretty lenient with movies but you shouldn't have to be. It's probably not nearly as bad as I think it is but then again maybe it's worse. I probably will never know because I don't care to waste my bandwidth on it. If you're a pre-teen girl who idolizes Miley go ahead and rot your brain with this trash, otherwise avoid it like the videotape in The Ring.

Notes:
- Nothing really important to note here, just wanted to say that Demi Moore would have better looking kids than the ones she has in the movie.
- IMDb is pretty notorious for being more lenient in ratings than say Rotten Tomatoes. It's current IMDb rating is 2.6.....which is pretty anemic for any decently budgeted film with actually Hollywood stars.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

AFI's Top 10 Fantasy: #6 - Field of Dreams (1989)

When a mysterious voice tells you to build a full sized baseball field with stands and lights over the crops that are your livelihood, you just do it. Field of Dreams (1989) is a pretty crazy story but a good one. I'm not a huge fan of baseball movies but this one is pretty good despite having no real baseball action.

One night, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), a corn farmer from Iowa, hears a voice that tells him to build a baseball diamond over his crops. Obviously his wife Annie (Amy Madigan) is skeptical but allows him to mow down their livelihood to build an expensive and ridiculous baseball field. Although sinking into financial ruin, with the help of his young daughter Karin (Gaby Hoffman), he finds himself able to see and play with Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) and seven other players banned in the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. The mysterious voice returns and drives him to seek out a reclusive author (James Earl Jones) and former ball player that turned physician (Burt Lancaster) that died 16 years earlier. Not making any sense? Good.

Not Costner's finest work but it sure beats Waterworld (1995).

This movie takes a few notable truths from real life. The Black Sox Scandal was a real thing and is a black mark in the history of baseball. Shoeless Joe's involvement in the scandal has been debated, I honestly think he was innocent but I don't really follow baseball. In any case he, along with seven other members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox were banned from the league for life. Also, the reclusive author as played by James Earl Jones is based upon J.D. Salinger, another recluse most notable for writing The Catcher in the Rye.

It may be a rather odd movie but it's a feel good story with a happy ending so why not check it out if you haven't seen it.

Notes:
- Adapted from the novel Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella.
- Ray's last name is Kinsella, just like the author. Coincidence? No...no it's not.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ted (2012)

So I've been busy....and lazy so I haven't posted something in a couple weeks and also put my AFI project on hold but I'll get that done eventually. In any case, I finally got around to seeing a movie that I feel like I can write about. 

I've been a big fan of Seth MacFarlane creator of Family Guy because I always think of him as Matt Groening 2.0. For those who don't know, Matt Groening created The Simpsons and Futurama, and for those people that didn't know.....shame on you. Family Guy is just a smattering of random jokes and offensive material with no real coherent flow or plot. Such a show is not for everyone, but I love it. I again attribute it to being horribly desensitized via 90s television and film. 

Anyway, after 10 seasons of Family Guy over 13 years, MacFarlane has finally deemed us worthy of a feature-length film. With Ted (2012) he did a great job in his first outing into live action film. It has all the obscene material and offensive language Family Guy has to offer but does it in a different setting and with real people. Also, the premise of the story is mostly original. The inanimate object that comes to life as a friend isn't totally original but Ted shows us what happens after they grow up which is exactly what you would expect of such a comedy. A foul-mouthed, offensive, teddy bear dealing with real world adult problems is as hilarious as you would think. This movie makes me think of what would have happened if Pinocchio grew up and became a pot-smoking dead beat. That would be a sight to behold but I doubt Disney would like that.

I very much enjoy the cast involved in this film because many of them are directly involved with or are frequent contributors to Seth MacFarlane related projects. 

Mark Wahlberg as John Bennett
Mila Kunis as Lori Collins (plays Meg on Family Guy)
Joel McHale as Rex
Giovanni Ribisi as Donny
Patrick Warburton as Guy (plays Joe on Family Guy)
Jessica Barth as Tammy-Lynn (in 3 episodes of Family Guy)
Patrick Stewart as Narrator (roles in both Family Guy and American Dad!)

There are also a couple cameos of Ryan Reynolds as Jared, Alex Borstein (plays Lois on Family Guy) as John's Mom, Sam Jones (aka Flash Gordon), and Tom Skerritt.

Some people don't like Mark Wahlberg as an actor but I enjoy his performances. I very much appreciate that he is trying to step out of the stereotype of serious roles and get some comedy experience under his belt. He's already been in a couple comedies, like his roles in The Other Guys (2010) and Date Night (2010). If you've ever seen an interview of Wahlberg he's actually a pretty funny guy, but that's just homework for another time.  

I've been pretty vague but you don't need any back story before watching this movie so just go out and do it. If you're offended by the frequent racism and for that matter the sheer volume of generally offensive material present in Family Guy or the like, than it may not be for you. For those people with a sense of humour I highly recommend watching it. It has plenty of laugh out loud moments, it's nothing too memorable but it's stupid humour that will keep you  happy and entertained for the 106 minutes it plays for. 

Notes:
- Seth MacFarlane also created American Dad! and The Cleveland Show, but I don't really care for either which is why they are only a footnote.
- After John does an impression of Ted, Ted says "Oh, come on, I don't sound that much like Peter Griffin!". A nice, not so subtle allusion the film's link to Family Guy.
- Movie poster from www.impawards.com, check it out.