Friday, August 22, 2014

Movie Round-Up 8/22/14

Brace yourself for more movie reviews that you don't care about.

World's Greatest Dad:  This movie is dripping with unintended irony now as the plot involves Robin Williams as a dad named Lance whose son kills himself via autoerotic asphyxiation.  To spare his son (and himself) embarrassment he ghostwrites a suicide note and fakes the kid hanging himself.  But when the note goes viral it inadvertently gives Lance everything he ever wanted--except his son.  Despite how cheerful the title might seem, it's a darkly comic movie that takes to extremes how we tend to gloss over all the bad stuff when someone dies.  (Or like how we pretend Robin Williams had been relevant in the last 10 years.)  For obvious reason I might not have liked this pre-Williams's death, but now it has a lot more relevance.  It is unfortunate that near the end you get a peek of his (or his stunt double's) junk.  Did not need to see that.  (3.5/5)

Bad Words:  As the title indicates this kind of follows the Bad Santa premise, only with spelling bees!  Jason Bateman is a 40-year-old who thanks to dropping out of school is able to compete in the national spelling bee against kids.  While he might have dropped out of school he does have an idiot savant type talent for spelling.  And is good at psyching out opponents.  Along the way he makes friends with a dorky Indian kid.  Why he's in the competition is revealed near the end.  Anyway, it's a fun raunchy comedy with some heart.  Of course since it was released by Focus Features no one got to watch it in theaters so get it now from Netflix or Redbox. (4/5)

Sabotage:  It's over-the-top in terms of gore and testosterone with a fairly weak plot.  So basically your typical Ahhh-nold movie on steroids.  Except he isn't really the good guy in this.  There really are no characters I cared about.  Maybe it's because everyone--including the women--is so oozing testosterone that it becomes kind of a turnoff.  Basically there's a crew of DEA agents who raid a drug kingpin's house and in the process decide to take $10 million for themselves by tying it to a rope and stringing it down the sewer.  But the money goes missing!  And then later the team starts dying.  Who stole it isn't that much of a surprise, though how he manages it is less clear.  Anyway, as I said I wasn't all that interested in the characters and the plot is one of those that tries hard to be twisty but probably just ends up fooling itself. (1/5)

Batman:  Assault on Arkham:  While this says Batman it's really a Suicide Squad movie.  If you had read my review of the New 52 Suicide Squad in my last post (which you didn't--for shame!) then you'd already know who they are.  Basically it's a team of villains with bombs implanted in their heads and used by the government for secret missions.  In this case it's to break into Arkham and get something from the Riddler.  Or at least that's how it starts out.  But then there are twists and turns and many of the villains being killed--that's why it's called Suicide Squad.  Batman does show up to sometimes hinder and sometimes help their cause.  As with the first go-round of the New 52 comic, Deadshot and Harley Quinn are the center of the team.  Most of the Batman villains are styled after the Arkham video games so ones like Bane and Poison Ivy look a little weird.  Anyway, it's a fun movie if you like superheroes and heists. (3/5)

The Island:  This was I think Michael Bay's last movie before he hit paydirt with Transformers.  It's pretty much what you'd expect:  chases, explosions, and plot holes.  The biggest plot hole is why they need this whole little colony populated by clones with the promise of "The Island" and threat of a "contaminated" world to keep them in line.  The "explanation" is that if you just freeze people the organs will die.  Um, yeah, right.  So if you can suspend all that disbelief then the rest is tolerable. Though at the end it's kind of unclear what's going to happen to everyone. (2/5)

Flight:  This was the Denzel Washington movie where he plays a pilot who like Sully Sullenberger made a heroic crash landing.  Except unlike Sully, the Denzel Washington pilot was high on coke and booze at the time, which makes things problematic even though that didn't cause the crash and it's unlikely anyone else would have saved the plane.  Mostly this is a movie about addiction and recovery.  Contrasting Denzel's refusal to take responsibility and get clean is a heroin addict named Nicole whom he meets in the hospital.  They spend a little time together and she seems to get her shit together while it's much more difficult for him.  John Goodman has a funny cameo as Denzel's drug peddler while Don Cheadle cashes a paycheck as Denzel's lawyer.  Since this was a Robert Zemeckis movie we should all just be glad he didn't use that stupid Polar Express/Beowulf animation on this. (3/5)

Stage Fright:  The logline for this movie would be:  It's Scream meets Glee!  A killer terrorizes a theater camp, dressed like a kabuki version of the Phantom of the Opera.  Though it really takes over half the movie for him to start killing anyone.  There's some fun musical numbers, gory murders, and you can see Meat Loaf get chopped up with a circular saw.  (The singer, not the food.)  So there's something for everyone! (3/5)

Candyman:  This was supposed to be a slasher movie, yet most of the slashing seemed to take place off screen.  For the most part this was really boring.  Virginia Madsen researches the legend of some dude called Candyman.  Why they call him that I never figured out since candy really has nothing to do with it.  He was some black guy in the late 18th Century who was killed by a lynch mob for getting involved with a white lady.  They chopped off his right hand and then lured bees to sting him to death.  Supposedly he goes around after that killing people with a hook if they say his name in a mirror 5 times.  When it seems Candyman is terrorizing the projects of Chicago, Virginia Madsen gets involved and then framed for murders.  Other than some gross bee stuff and gallons of fake blood there wasn't much gross about it and the scares were mostly just stuff jumping out at you, which makes it probably scarier than those Paranormal Activity movies. (1.5/5)

I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer:  A completely unnecessary third chapter in this series.  Only none of the original characters are involved.  Some idiot teenagers decide it'd be really funny to stage an attack on the local carnival by "the Fisherman" the hook-wielding killer of the last two movies.  Except someone gets killed and they hush it up until the Fisherman comes after them.  Spoiler alert:  don't waste time trying to figure out who the Fisherman is because he's like some evil demon summoned by them trying to hush up the death.  So that was lame.  I fell asleep in the first half of the movie, but that was OK because I didn't miss anyone being killed.  That all happens in like the last half-hour.  (1/5)

Cougar Club:  This is the kind of late night movie where I wish I had fallen asleep.  Curse you, insomnia!  Basically two idiots graduate high school and go to intern at a law firm headed by Joe "Fat Tony" Mantegna.  At the same time they start something like Fight Club only it's for young guys to fuck older women.  I found that completely unbelievable, not in that something like that couldn't exist (and probably does in real life) but that these two asshats could actually organize it with the help of a third idiot friend.  Then stupid shit ensues, almost none of which involves sex or cougars.  And at the end the one idiot guy doesn't even hook up with the chick he was chasing through most of the movie.  Instead he hooks up with someone else who only shows up at the end.  SMH.  If this weren't free I'd want my money back. (-5/5)

Women in Trouble:  This is one of those ensemble movies like Magnolia or Love Actually.  It starts with a legendary porn star finding out she's pregnant.  She goes to the doctor's office and gets stuck in an elevator with a woman whose daughter is going to a shrink whose husband is having an affair with the patient's aunt.  There are some other threads too that are all interconnected in a way and as the title suggests all feature women in trouble.  It's fun with some raunchy humor.  Other than Josh Brolin (channeling Russell Brand as a British rocker) and an appearance by Joseph Gordon-Leavitt in a post-credits scene there's not a lot of big names.  (3/5)  But it does make me think of this song, which is also about the interconnectedness of things:


  1. Assault on Arkham is Batman lite, but Harley Quinn makes it worth it. Yahtzee!

  2. Bad Words, which I went to add to my list on Netflix, is only available by DVD-thru-mail. That is going to be my new pet peeve, the way people who won't let you embed their Youtube videos in your site were my OLD pet peeve. WHY would you put it on Netflix on DVD but not on streaming? Why make it LESS convenient to see the movie? Why make fewer people able watch your movie at once?

    "Sure, you can watch 'Bad Words' for free but only if you first stick your head into this box of bees."

    (I was influenced by your Candyman review.)

    It makes NO sense. Why do you care HOW I watch your crappy movie for jerks? I don't know if they think they make more money that way or if Netflix demanded it or what. It's stupid.

    I read the rest of your post but got distracted by this.

    1. I got Bad Words from Redbox. I assume movie studios don't want new movies on Netflix streaming right away because they don't get as much money that way.

  3. I was thinking of Flight the other day. It's a personal favorite. James Badge Dale!

  4. I kinda want to see the suicide squad movie. I heard an interview with the writer and he seemed excited about it.

  5. Boy that movie us ironic. Sabotage isn't surprising, but Candyman has a strong cult following. I just think it's cool that it's one of the few real black oriented horror movies.



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