Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Austin Powers: Internation Man of Mystery

Release year: 1997
Production company: Capella International
Starring: Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York, Mimi Rogers, Robert Wagner, Seth Green

A British secret agent named Austin Powers (Myers) is cryogenically frozen in the 1960's so he can be unfrozen in the 1990's to stop his arch nemesis Dr. Evil (also Myers) from shooting Earth with an enormous missile! But Austin must also adjust to the more sexually restrained era of the 90's and keep his lecherous hands off his super sexy partner Vanessa Kensington (Hurley).

A couple of weeks ago I finally broke down and bought the Austin Powers trilogy on blu ray that I've been eyeing at Target for a couple of months now, I've been dying to rewatch all of them and see if they were anywhere near as good as I remembered them being. Well, we established one thing right off the bat: International Man of Mystery didn't age well, if it was ever good to begin with.

Yeah, I said it! International Man of Mystery could have been better!

This movie was meant to be a spoof on James Bond/spy movies of the 1960's which definitely achieved it's goal! We've got the stereotyped British lingo and bad teeth and psychedelic vibes, there's the classic formula of a dastardly villain with a grand plan to either dominate the world or hold the well-being of the planet for a rather large ransom, and then we've got the sexy cool female sidekick that our hero ends up falling for. Yes, that is all present and accounted for. And there are other good aspects to International Man of Mystery as well!

While the humor is definitely on the sexual/raunchy side of things - there is still lots of clever word play to be enjoyed, as well as ridiculously over-the-top characters, and great laugh-out-loud moments. But it still feels like the movie didn't push as hard as it could have. The humor is there, but it could have pushed the envelope a little bit more. The characters are zany, but they could be been even more so....this movie just needed a touch more umph! But oh well, these characters were barely established and just needed a little time to marinade apparently.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery gets a 3 OF 5 must own for those who enjoy a raunchy/sex-based comedy with heavy spy movie influences. Keep in mind, it's still good but it's just not as great as it could be. Now we'll see how the rest of the trilogy stacks up!

Number One is a let down....better hopes for Number Two?

Monday, April 17, 2017

American Sniper

Release year: 2014
Production company: Village Roadside Pictures
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller

Based on the acclaimed novel of the same title, American Sniper tells the incredible true story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Cooper): a patriotic, good ol' boy from Texas who went on to become the deadliest sniper in United States military history. We watch as Chris struggles to find the balance between serving his country and protecting his SEAL brothers in Iraq, while also upholding his place as a husband and father to his family back home in the States. But even when he is home, the war never truly leaves him and he remains haunted by the memories of what he saw while he was fighting in Iraq.

I have been avoiding watching American Sniper for a couple of years now because I knew exactly what was going to happen: I was going to see a brilliantly made movie about war and pain, and I was going to cry for the rest of my life. Was I right? Absolutely. When I first started writing about this movie I was sobbing uncontrollably...I think I just have too many feelings, but I'm so happy that I finally saw this movie! My oldest nephew has actually been hounding me to watch this for weeks - this coming from a teenager who only cares about working on his family's ranch, his lifted truck, and eating terrifying quantities of pizza rolls; so if this guy was recommending a movie I knew it had to be worth my time. And it was!

There is so much tension and emotion...my nerves were
totally fried! But it was great!

As I've come to expect from Clint Eastwood's work as a director, American Sniper was stunning! Shot in a way that shows the outward struggles just as vibrantly as the inner anguish that Chris Kyle faced, American Sniper is an intensely emotional roller coaster of a movie. Bradley Cooper once again completely shocked me with his amazing performance, his ability to grow and transform within his characters is incredible! Now I know that artistic liberties have to be taken when it comes to turning a true story into a movie - gotta amp up the intrigue! - but I don't even care if that applies to this movie or not. It's just so good!

Chris Kyle's story was an amazing one, he was a truly
incredible person.

It's pretty obvious that I am totally in love with American Sniper. The cast, characters, plot, cinematography...everything balances perfectly for the best possible modern day war story about a true American hero. I just don't have anything bad to say about this movie! While doing a little reading around, I found that some critics didn't feel the same though. One critic from Rolling Stone magazine stated that his low opinion for American Sniper was based on the fact that this movie didn't present proper historical context of the Iraqi war.....how is that even relevant?? I feel like when you go to watch a movie about someone's life, that's what it is. It's their life. Why do we need historical context of the war that this man was in? The history of the war doesn't change the fact that some of his best friends died in combat and that adjusting to life at home was a nightmare for him. Historical context doesn't change the fact that this man died trying to help others in his situation... I think someone just has a bug up their butt about a movie that is so blatantly pro-America. Go cuddle your participation trophy and eat another vegan cookie dude, your misplaced feelings can be talked about in your next "Daddy Didn't Hug Me Enough" support group.

American Sniper gets a rock solid 5 OF 5 must own for those who not only love a killer biopic movie, but those that are also into war movies. If your go to movies of choice happen to be Jarhead, Lone Survivor, or Three Kings then American Sniper is your next go-to movie!

A truly beautiful movie - this one is a major keeper!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Not Another Happy Ending

Release year: 2013
Production company: British Film Company
Starring: Karen Gillan, Stanley Webber, Iain De Caestecker

When a disgruntled indie Irish publisher takes a chance and publishes a book written by a quirky, sweet wannabe-author - romantic misadventure ensues! The author's book becomes an overnight sensation and she finds herself plunged into a world of literary superstardom! But there is now an added pressure for her to write another novel, one of the same caliber as her previous work...but she's experiencing the most intense writer's block of her life. Remembering that her first novel was born out of an unhappy life filled with disappointment, the writer's publisher takes it on himself to start planting little pitfalls and failures in her life to hopefully spur on her writing! After all, he wants to make more money and she wants to get out of her contract with the publisher and his nasty attitude. But the more time her publisher spends trying to ruin her life, the more time he spends obsessing over the author...and falling in love with her!

Oh good God you two! You're in love! Admit it!

By all means necessary, this movie should have been super cute! It's got all the makings of an adorable romantic comedy: misadventure, a couple of opposites-attract characters, the fact that they're all Irish...but none of it worked! Here I was hoping for an Irish version of Someone Like You meets How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. But it just wasn't! Curse you Amazon Prime and your free movies!

Now don't get me wrong, this movie was very sweet. The main character was quirky and adorable and dressed a lot like Diane Keaton, all of which are things I like! But...that's where all the good points end. The movie doesn't have much heart or intrigue. There are also plenty of moments where the plot will expand and add a whole bunch of new characters or try to introduce a new side of the plot, and the whole thing becomes muddy and stretched out...this movie just felt way too long. But it has so much potential! I was a redo! This plot deserves better!

Sorry to break your heart hun...but this one is just a stinker!

Not Another Happy Ending only gets a 2 OF 5 must own for those who love British romantic comedies, especially those that focus around writing as a subject or about opposites-attract type romance. But I feel like this isn't a good representation of any of those things...until this one gets remade, I don't think anyone should check it out. Sorry!

"Sometimes love needs a rewrite"...yes, and so does this movie.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Green Room

Release year: 2015
Production company: Broad Green Pictures
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Joe Cole, Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner

Closing out their West Coast tour, a group of 20-something kids in a hardcore punk band find out all too late that their last show is at a secluded Pacific Northwest venue that mainly caters to skinheads and neo-Nazis. So the band decides to go in, play their set, and get out as quickly as possible...but their plan does not carry out as smoothly as they'd hoped. While getting their equipment out of the green room, the band members stumble on the aftermath of a grisly murder, and the owner of the venue (Patrick Stewart) isn't going to let the band members leave alive. Now the kids have become hostages in this isolated Nazi compound and are going to have to fight their way out of the venue...if they can get past the skinheads, their massive boots, and their attack dogs...

I think I saw a trailer for this movie a while back but didn't really give second thought to this movie until my boyfriend told me I should check it out. I really enjoyed Patrick Stewart in his villain role in Gunmen so there was no reason why I wouldn't like him in another villainous role - especially one where he's a neo-Nazi villain! And aside from the whole Nazi thing, this movie had so many more elements and it was INSANELY AWESOME!!

Ready for something fast-paced and crazy intense? You found it!

There's this constant feeling of danger and tension throughout the whole movie, it's so eerie. The characters in this movie are really awesome and intense, it's like American History X meets SLC Punk but with a whole lot more murder. And speaking of murder! Man! The gore in this movie is out of this world!! There's one scene in particular where a guy gets his hand sawed almost all the way off...and it is nasty! I was so uncomfortable, yuck!! But these little gory nuggets - no pun intended - hidden throughout the movie are such a cool surprise! It's like we're getting the best of all worlds - a creepy, thriller-horror hybrid that's brimming with tension and terror! I loved this movie!!

Green Room gets 5 OF 5 must own for those who love a crazy intense thriller bordering on the lines of being a horror movie. And you know, if you love Nazisploitation or movies having to do with killing Nazis, that's an added bonus too.

Patrick Stewart was made to be a villain - more roles like this please!!

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Jungle Book

Release year: 2016
Production company: Walt Disney Pictures
Starring: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken

A young Indian boy named Mowgli (Sethi) is adopted by a pack of wolves in the jungle when he is orphaned as a toddler. Mowgli is raised among the wolves as one of their own and is taught to hunt, interact, and speak with all the animals in the jungle. But the King of the Jungle - the tiger Shere Khan (Elba) - who has a fiery hatred towards man, threatens to start killing off animals in the jungle unless Mowgli is delivered directly to him. So the wolves form a plan with Bagheera the panther (Kingsley) to get Mowgli out of the jungle and back to the man village without Shere Khan knowing. But Mowgli meets many new friends and has many adventures on his way to safety...how is he supposed to leave the jungle he knows and loves so much?

After seeing trailers for this new re-imagining of The Jungle Book, I was really excited to see this! The original Disney animated version from the 60's is such a classic, and I'm also a big fan of the live action version from the 90's and so this was bound to be an excellent hybrid of both. Considering how amazing literally all Disney movies have been lately, I didn't feel a need to doubt whether this was going to be good or not. Disney literally has all the money so there's not excuse not to deliver on an awesome movie! Well guess what? It was AMAZING!

Look at these animals?!! Can you believe what we can do with computers now??

As predicted, the animation and use of CGI in this movie was practically flawless! All the characters were fantastic and so vibrantly created - it reminded me so much of Life of Pi! There were some delightful new additions to the story, but the old adventures we are fond of were all present and accounted for - the movie was expanded on, not retracted from which is such a wonderful thing to see!  In fact, the only negatives I have about this movie are so minimal and insignificant for certain audiences that I would dare say that this was almost a perfect movie! Well, perfect aside from some of the subject matter and the voice of a certain orangutan...

Now, as great as this movie is, it's insanely dark and scary. There's lots of death and danger, probably not the greatest thing for super young kids to watch but I'll leave that to the parent's judgement. The biggest problem I had with this movie was King Louie the orangutan! He is voiced by Christopher Walken...and it's just so hard to take seriously! I'm not seeing a monkey voiced by Christopher Walken so much as I'm seeing a monkey version of Christopher Walken - WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED! All his weird speech patterns and pronunciations, all his Christopher Walken-isms came alive in this CGI monkey! And it all just intensified when he started singing the "I Wannabe Like You" song!! It was SO hard to take seriously but I was dying of laughter so of all the negatives to have about this movie, I'm glad that is the only one!

I can't not see Christopher Walken as this orangutan now...it's weird.

The newest addition to the Jungle Book family gets a 5 OF 5 must own for Disney fans who are looking to revisit a classic, as well as for new fans too!

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Release year: 1984
Production company: Golan-Globus Productions
Starring: Lucinda Dickey, Adolfo 'Shabba-Doo' Quinones, Michael 'Boogaloo Shrimp' Chambers, Christopher McDonald

A classically trained dancer (Dickey) dreams of stardom while waiting tables to pay the rent and taking dance classes with a famed local dancer to hopefully boost her chances at the big time. But when she is introduced to two break dancers (Shabba-Doo, Boogaloo Shrimp) who teach her their style of popping and locking, Kelly sees a new side of dancing that she realizes she loves. And when she shows her agent (McDonald) what she and her new friends are capable of, he does everything in his power to enter them into a major dance competition that will skyrocket their dancing careers and make them all stars!

Judging by my past history of loving musicals and movies centered around dancing, I'm sure most of you would assume that I came across this movie simply because I'm interested in the genre. Nope! I actually only know about this movie because of one of my favorite documentaries of all time: Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films! Ever since my cheese-hound boyfriend The Cinemartyr introduced me to the trashy, ridiculous glory that are Cannon Films, I jump at the chance to watch anything this over-the-top crazy studio put out into the world. And in the documentary I learned about the worst movie they ever made: Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. How could I pass up watching something like that?!? And my boyfriend being the angel he is, actually bought me both Breakin' and Breakin' 2 on blu ray so I could live out my dream! If that isn't romance, I don't know what is!

The gift of men break dancing in 80's crop tops is the
gift that keeps on giving in my book!

Breakin' is one of the most ridiculous movies I've ever seen - it's like an intensely homoerotic combination of Center Stage meets Save the Last Dance, all set in the height of the 80's dance genre. Are you won over yet? Wait. It gets better. The intensity of the ridiculousness in this movie is the absolute best! Of course we have our typical clumsy white girl being taught how to dance by a couple of break-dancing dudes of color - can we please address the fact that these white girls always dance perfectly well to ballet and jazz but the minute they have to try something new they suddenly have 8 left feet and don't know how to stand up without falling? - and we've also got our "too cool for school" bad boy dancers who apparently don't play by no one else's rules unless they're battle dancing in an empty warehouse where Ice-T is DJ-ing. ALL OF THAT IS A TRUE THING. Oh lordy and I cannot even get started on the fashion. I know the 80's had their own things going on but wow. Just wow.

Now, for me this movie was hilarious and I loved every single second of it. But there's a chance that it may not be for everyone. If you don't like over-the-top dramas that actually end up being comedies because how could they not be, then this might not be the movie for you. Everything is just so overly exaggerated, it's insane! But it's also fun!

If you can't laugh at Breakin', you need to check
your sense of humor!

Breakin' gets a solid 5 OF 5 must own for those who have a soft spot for dance movies but also cheesy dance movies. You cannot take this one seriously! You must laugh all the time or else you're definitely not going to enjoy the ride. But the best thing about watching Breakin'? It brings you one more step closer to Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo! Expect a review VERY SOON!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Snow Day

Release year: 2000
Production company: Nickelodeon Movies
Starring: Chris Elliot, Chevy Chase, Iggy Pop, Pam Grier, Mark Webber

After suffering through an unusually warm winter, the kids of a New York suburb are finally blessed with a huge snow storm that shuts down the entire town! And anything can happen on a snow day. Whether it's confessing a secret crush, trying to prove you're the best weatherman in town, or doing everything in your power to stop the evil Snowplow Man from ruining the chances of a second snow day - this special day will be filled with adventure for everyone!

You may take their freedom, but you will never take their snow day!

Snow Day is one of those movies that I was completely obsessed with when I was a little kid, but I've been scared to re-watch it because I had this horrible feeling in my gut that it wasn't going to age well. I mean, it's a movie made by a television studio for kids...could it really be that good? Even the Rugrats movies couldn't stay good forever! But I was pleasantly surprised when I finally watched Snow Day on Netflix - IT'S STILL GREAT!!

Acting like Nickelodeon Studios got their hands on Home Alone 3, Snow Day is a hilarious kiddie comedy that also translates well to adults too! There's plenty of kid humor, but some adult-ccentric jokes are mixed in so there's humor for all ages groups but still completely appropriate for young kids. The whole movie is pretty whimsical and zany, perfectly capturing that Snow Day feeling where you have this one day to make anything yours! So fun! Plus, I love the fact that Chevy Chase is basically playing Clark Griswold from Christmas Vacation yet again and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Any Clark Griswold is the best kind of Clark Griswold.

Snow Day gets a 5 OF 5 must watch for kids or adults looking for a genuinely funny kids movie to watch! Here's something else to add to your snowy day watch list....bonus points if you can find it on the Nickelodeon orange VHS tape.

This isn't mine...but man, do I miss this brilliantly
orange tape!