The Hunting Party Review


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The Hunting Party

At the heart of The Hunting Party is one of those stories that you would hear at a dinner party, realize is one of the coolest stories you've ever heard, and then go on to tell at every other party you attend, only this time a little bit cooler than before. Well, at this party the story is being told by Richard Shepard, the director of the under appreciated The Matador.
This is the story of two journalists and one rookie reporter who arrive in post-war torn Bosnia only to become roped into a scheme to interview (or catch) the most notorious war criminal of the time. Their quest to find "The Fox" is obviously a dangerous one resulting in their unfortunate confrontations with a sketchy United Nations officer, a threatening bar tender, a menacing midget, and a soulless torturer. It is quite honestly insane, that is, considering that it is mostly true.

The rendition of this story stars the immensely talented Richard Gere, the young Jesse Eisenberg (Squid and The Whale), and Terrence Dashon Howard. While for the most part their performances are convincing and well portrayed, at times they barely manage to keep their lines from being too stale. This is more of a problem with the script than anything else. There are many occasions in this story that tend to be heavily melodramatic, usually involving lines with obvious political overtones or insightful voice overs. It's hardly distracting and at times actually works quite well, however it is something all too common in political thrillers and in this case, causes the story to ring somewhat hollow.

Of course, with all films "based on a true story," the audience is confronted with how much of a story is in fact true. In this case we are at least comforted with a disclaimer that reads: "This movie is based on actual events. Only the most ridiculous ones are true." That, along with a friendly reminder at the end to help clarify the facts, help to settle any left-over doubts. Still, you can't help but wonder about the actual people this story deals with. Unfortunately there is no documentation or evidence of the individuals themselves, in real life that is, provided in the film. Unlike the great American Splendor, a film which managed to blend the actual subjects and the actors who portray them, there is a severe lack of first hand accounts. As a result, the story is rendered the same amount of credit as though a good friend of a friend were telling you about it from across a table.
Who knows, perhaps that is the point. In any case, I was entertained and thoroughly interested up to the end. With all politics aside, it is a fascinating story. It's worth watching.


Mr. Bean's Holiday Review

Mr. Bean's Holiday

I will preface this review by simply stating that if you don’t get Mr. Bean, you simply “don’t get” Mr. Bean, and therefore, will in all probability not get this movie. So when you first see Mr. Bean slide the bolt lock on his miniature car, and stand cheerfully in church with his raffle ticket in hand, you better already be smiling along with him or laughing, because whether you like it or not, Bean is going on vacation.
In this film, Mr. Bean’s dialogue never goes far beyond the guttural “hello,” “choo-choo,” and the hallmark self-introduction as simply “Bean.” At the same time, it could be said that for however muted Mr. Bean is in his speech, he is immeasurably exuberant in his actions, which in this movie become exceedingly more and more intricate and at times highly choreographed. What makes every joke work though is the fact that every performer buys into each gag without any hindrance or second thought. By all means, a mock operatic performance should not be this hilarious, but Rowan Atkinson is so profoundly epic in his staging that it works tremendously well. Even the younger actors, usually a terrible weight in most “family” films, have great presence and are dealt with an adept and (in the case of Mr. Bean) careless hand.
Although there is a conceivable lack of dialogue for the most part, there is not one ounce of this film that is lazily constructed. Each choice is a smart and clever one. Even the location of the film in a foreign land is a brilliant choice as it lends Mr. Bean’s speech useless in the first place. Even without words, there is clever and strong writing evident throughout, all the way up to the clever conclusion. Whereas the previous effort to bring Bean to the big screen was essentially a rehash of old material, the majority of this adventure is all-new. Ultimately, the film itself is a fantastic journey that will at the very least enrapture the beauty of the European countryside with a cinematic flair.
As Mr. Bean’s dramatic arrival at his final destination suggests, everything works out perfectly. The film itself is brilliant in it’s design and execution. Frankly, I can’t recommend it more.

Here's Rowan Atkinson at his best:


V for Vendetta Review

V For Vendetta

V for Vendetta is the closest experience you may have to holding a sub-par college party in your home. At first everything seems great, there are tons of people telling great stories, and most importantly, there's a chance of seeing some action by the end of the night. Suddenly, however, everyone you hate starts to show up.
The first knock at the door is a girl, who although being very attractive, is a hard-core political activist. Her only purpose at the party is to hand out flyers and inform your guests of the horrors of war and capitalism. However, she is pretty, so you don’t mind looking at her while her lips blabber on and on about God knows what. This you can stand.
The second knock at the door is some guy named Louis who is quick to inform you and all of your friends that he is openly and proudly gay, that being gay is great, that he love’s being gay, that you should be gay too, and everyone who is anyone is gay. He also decides to hand out rainbow colored pamphlets while loudly singing songs from RENT.
The third knock is from that obscure acquaintance who refuses to smile, tell jokes, laugh, or speak above a whisper. He refuses to make any contact, yet decides to sit directly in the middle of the couch. Your friends may try to cheer him, and the atmosphere around him with light conversation, however that is quickly deadened by his random poetic quotes and literary references to minor works by famous dead authors. He too has flyers.
Finally, the last knock is from a religious activist. This guest is unique however, in that he does not provide flyers for one religion but every religion imaginable, except for Christianity, which he believes is intolerant of his “multi-religional” beliefs. You frown at the idea that he walked here in his bare feet and kindly ask him to not step on the carpet. He considers this to be discrimination however, and immediately disobeys.
And so, you find yourself knee deep in flyers, unable to move, and paralyzed in the realization that you no longer have a party, but a new-age convention of sorts.
This is essentially the experience of watching “V for Vendetta,” a film filled with so many messages, it is ironically rendered meaningless. With a lack of action, it hardly suffices as an action film. With the abundance of messages, it is overly convoluted. With a lack of humor it is soulless. With its focus on current issues, it is overexposed, trite, and uninspired drivel. All that remains is a bland still life with a pretty frame.
However, what a pretty frame it is. Natalie Portman shows off some impressive acting chops, at least in opposition to some of her earlier roles, but the real star of this picture is Hugo Weaving. In an underappreciated performance, he manages to make the frozen expression plastered across the mask of the mysterious protagonist come alive. Despite the permanent smirk, the character V manages to express his deepest sorrow through the subtlest actions. It is a difficult feat, but Weaving pulls it off impressively.
Nevertheless, the film never delivers. The antagonist in this film is a corrupt government with some very nasty secrets. The main characters, while seeking to better their country, never go much further beyond vengeance in their actions. While the means the government takes to achieve their iron-fisted rule over the people becomes clearly twisted, the movie fails to show citizens in clear duress. Every shot of a home has a nice furniture piece from Ikea, every person holds a trademark beverage, and each citizen eats his or her own breakfast in the morning. Sure, they live in fear, but the movie never really shows it beyond the obnoxious leader screaming at his officials. Right there, the film loses its credibility.
As far as the “brilliant” protagonist is concerned, his “master plan” never actually goes farther than blowing something big up.
In the end, we’re left with nothing more than a dry taste in our mouth. Nothing was gained by this experience and nothing was lost. It looks pretty, but I’ve heard this rant before. I’ve read it, watched it, and listened to it. Frankly, I don’t want to experience it again. The worst, I fear, is that now more ignorant people will think they know what they’re talking about in defense of “freedom.” Well, when it comes to this intellectual party I suggest spending less time with RENT by the stereo, and more time with Ray Bradbury by the punchbowl.



Best Skittles Commercial Ever? I think yes.

Crazy Cat Pop-sensation

I honestly don't know. This may in fact be the most brilliant video I have ever seen, or the most embarrassing. Perhaps that lies entirely in the heart of the creator and where his intentions lie. However, the excessive cat licking may be part of the answer.

Where do I begin? or should I begin? What is all that stuff stockpiled in his freezer? I assume it's cat food. Enough for the cat and himself. And what of the dark dance club at the end, do his friends simply approve of his wild "cathouse" life-style? And at what risk is he putting himself licking his own cat? Although I do hear they are the cleanest animals. Does he always come out of the apartment like that? Where did he get that suit? And why, for the love of God, does he try to wink in the first place? I know he and Jar-jar Binks should exchange phone-numbers, they probably have a lot in common with their "Meesah cat's."


"Be Kind Rewind" Trailer!!!

The trailer for Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind is finally out!
I've been waiting WAY too long for this.

Rush Hour 3 Review

Rush Hour 3

It’s the end of the summer, the time of the year when every movie you forgot was coming out just happens to arrive. You’ve served your duty in sitting through the elegant Harry Potter, the expensive looking Transformers, and the touching Once, but now you can finally enjoy Rush Hour 3, the new action/comedy featuring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. If you don’t know what it’s about, I can attempt to summarize it. Two LA cops, one who is African-American and one who is Chinese, are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. The movie itself is a combination of light-hearted action scenes with a hefty serving of comedy, often bordering on racist. I know what your thinking, comedy is fine with me, but racist jokes, especially pertaining to the Chinese dialect, are where I draw the rine. Werr, it’s rearry nothing to worry about, because, let’s face it, it is funny. Rearry funny. In fact, I found myserf raughing rearry hard throughout the entire firm.
The fact is, I could easily imagine someone becoming offended at any other film that attempted to make jokes such as these, but the characters in Rush Hour 3 are simply so kind and lovable, it’s hard to get angry at them. The movie itself is actually a testament to the great performances by Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in how they are capable of creating characters so light-hearted and fun that the audience simply wants to stick around them for company. In fact, it could be said for all the jokes and sexual references in the movie that there’s hardly anything outright insulting, and in this day and age, that is quite a feat.
I can imagine it would be easy for any critic to criticize what’s wrong with Rush Hour 3; however, I’m simply at a loss for words. The movie is a sequel, specifically, the third sequel in the series. If it’s not what you’re expecting then you haven’t seen a movie in the past ten years. For me, it was everything I wanted. It is simply perfect for what it is, and if you don’t know what “it” is, then “it” is simply not for you.
What the movie certainly gets right is its characters, who are lovable right down to the supporting characters. There’s the sweet and surprisingly aggressive French cab driver, the intriguing and mysterious singer, and even the crazy knife-throwing-Asian lady has her charms. Everyone is dually accounted for, and they get their own fair share of screen time. Speaking of the screen, this film is beautifully shot too. If you’re looking for it, you’ll notice some wonderful cinematography that’ll make you wonder what director Brett Ratner will go on to do once the sequels stop rolling.
In the meantime, Rush Hour 3 is easily one of the most satisfying movies I’ve seen this summer. It’s a film that succeeds on the basis of its characters and downright creativity, which is more than you can say for many of the big budget movies to grace the screens this summer. See it.


Rocket Science Review

Rocket Science

Maybe it’s the soothing narrator’s voice, or the well-constructed shots, but within the first few minutes of Rocket Science you won’t so much hear distant echoes of Wes Anderson or Noah Baumbach, as you will their talented voices screaming relentlessly in your ears. And if those two names are somewhat obscure, think Royal Tenenbaums and the Squid and the Whale, and you’ll start to get the idea. The only thing is, those two names had nothing to do with this movie. In actuality, Jeffrey Blitz, the highly esteemed director of Spellbound and even a few episodes of The Office, pieced this film together himself. This is no major gripe by any concern, however it is safe to say that numerous film purists may consider the combination of styles to be somewhat pirated, and thereby write off the entire film as a hackneyed mess. What those, I assume film majors, will miss out on however is the thoroughly unique and meaningful subject matter the film manages to grasp through storytelling.
The story of Rocket Science is one that is hard to describe without making it sound like a trite “after school drama.” The film’s profile summarizes it by giving the initial prospects for the main character Hal Hefner, who suffers from the plagues of both stuttering and attending high school. He is confronted by the success driven, but beautiful, Ginny Ryerson who recruits Hal for the debate team. It’s an unlikely choice, however everyone needs someone to believe in. It’s only after watching Rocket Science do we understand exactly how tragic that prospect is for everyone involved; because while the first half of this film is a by-the-books high school comedy, the second half is something entirely different. Hal does learn the core lessons inherit with coming of age; high school is pointless, families are crazy, and women are generally evil, but he also learns something else along the way, and it is a redeeming piece of knowledge that no one should be without.
The movie also manages to be hilarious. While the subject matter would liken the movie to consistently make fun of the protagonist and his unfortunate speech impediment, the film handles the characters with a certain amount of tenderness rarely depicted. You won’t hear Billy Madison yelling “Ta-ta-ta-TODAY JUNIOR!” (no matter how much I wanted him to), but you will witness Hal attempt to edge his way around tight situations with hilarious consequences. It’s right here where the film really takes off. The film is not so much about what the characters say, but what they intend to say and how they avoid it. You have to look closely, very closely, and you’ll notice the way Hal manages to avoid certain consonants and letters to say what he wants. To say the acting is superb is an understatement, because you can literally see the kid think through each word. Jeffrey Blitz, a former student with a severe speech impediment, intimately understands and captures the frustrations inherit with the plight. Instead of saying “no thanks,” Hal resorts to saying, “I, I, my plate is kind of full.” It is a subtle difference, but it is essential to the characters way of life. But that struggle for the right word is exactly what the film is all about, finding your own voice instead of borrowing someone else’s.
By this point, it’s easy to say the film is well written. My only argument is that perhaps it is better suited to its written form. Rocket Science is already such a literary film, it’s a wonder the movie was not a book in the first place. Perhaps the film’s subtle moments would have worked better within a hardcover binding. However, that’s a minor gripe to say the least, especially if you were to consider they’d make a movie out of it anyway. At least this way the film will reach a wider audience.
While the film does initially appear to be “Rushmore: Part II,” Rocket Science eventually rises above that image to reveal a thoroughly unique, and stuttering, voice. Without a doubt, you should see it. As Hal points out, “It’s not rocket, rocket, it’s not rocket.” S-s-s-SCIENCE JUNIOR! Oh, sorry…


The Simpsons Movie Review

When you've been waiting 20 years for one movie to come out, it's easy to set your expectations too high. So I was cautious entering the Simpsons Movie not to be too critical. The result is a funny and enjoyable feature length Simpsons episode. That said, the question is under which generation of Simpsons does this fall? Is this Simpsons circa 1990, or circa 2000? Well, I'd place it roughly at year ten of the series, around 2001, when Simpsons began to slowly wane and that newcomer Family Guy started to show up. As it stands, the movie is occasionally hilarious, yet of course never quite living up to it's earlier golden years. We end up laughing really hard, but that laughter only grazes what we experienced when Homer went back to college, or when Bart got an abusive girlfriend, or Ralph had a crush on Lisa. Maybe that's due to the fact that a couple of those brilliant writers are missing, or sadly passed away.
But let's not focus on the past, lets look at why parts of this movie work and others don't work. For one, it is simply too sprawling for it's own good. What seems like a great narrative device to entrap the city of Springfield and see them interact, is passed off as another excuse for the Simpsons to isolate themselves in nature. Instead of getting to see all of our favorite supporting characters go crazy as prisoners in their city, we watch Homer make his way across a barren wasteland in the last state the series hasn't covered yet. I suppose that's a minor grip in the narrative. However, what I would say made this film falter is that the whole movie slumps into a, yes that's right, SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT message that not only appears hackneyed and blatant, but is not even poked fun at by the supporting characters. I could maybe live with that if they had focused a bit more on the family, but even they are passed off with the political messages. Right there the Simpsons Movie fails to capture the very essence of the series. If the show ever did have a message it would either be based on family troubles, the individuals of the family, or even focus on the lack of a message itself. As Homer Simpson himself once said, "I don't get it. Is this supposed to be a happy ending or a sad ending?" To Which Marge replied, "It's an ending. That's that." Overall though, this ending is a satisfying one.
When it comes down to it, I would have much rather seen Homer Simpson's movie about "A killer robot driving instructor who travels back in time for some reason." I heard Ron Howard was attached to direct. But I guess you can't have everything.

The movie has some beautiful animation along with some painstaking attention to detail. In fact the animation excels here in making the Simpson Universe come alive, and it works tremendously. The acting is as always top-notch, especially with Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner. And when it comes down to it, it's funny. It really is. And if you're still not sure, just wait for Homer to get more comfortable with Spider Pig. That alone is worth paying for a ticket.


The Fonz Will Run Over Your Knees

My brother Nick was told about this video from his friends, thankfully we found a clip from it online, AND NOW EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT. If you've ever wondered what it would be like if the Fonz taught the world about child molestation, well, what's wrong with you? Because this is it. and WOW is this it.

That song is going to stick in your head for weeks.

I know. You have a LOT of questions. Probably about that crazy lady who screamed "OOOooooooOOOOOH!" Well, I found that too:

Self Defense with The Fonz

Posted Nov 21, 2006

The Fonz (Henry Winkler) shows off a self defense tool that's both serious and ridiculous at the same time.

Ready? Let's practice the HONK!

And Yes, this is a real video. It even has an imdb.


Crazy cat lady

I don't know why I laughed so hard at this video.
Actually. I do.
And if you're not laughing yet, watch it again.

maybe they'll show her their Pokemans.


Stardust Review


For countless years, The Princess Bride has maintained its status as the pinnacle fantasy film and highlight of nearly every church sponsored sleepover, lock-in, picnic, movie night, and probably even a couple communion services. Well, exactly twenty years later, we have Stardust. But while this film is indeed a fantastical voyage through a world of fancy, it may not exactly be the perfect film for a youth group get-together. However, that may not be a bad thing.

From the beginning, Stardust is reminiscent of the stories you might have been told as a child, with an introduction that barely overloads the viewer with exposition but succeeds in getting the ball rolling. And boy, once that ball starts rolling, it never stops. The focus of the tale is a boy named Tristan who, while undergoing the task of retrieving a fallen star for the source of his infatuation, also undergoes the process of becoming man. In due course, he also happens to learn how to fight, how to dress, and of course, how to love. It’s everything you learn from fairytales, and it is exactly what you would want from one. The film simply oozes charm in the midst of its tremendous action scenes and its cast of wildly fleshed out characters, which includes princes, witches, and pirates. Did I mention it’s everything you could want in a fantasy film? Well, it is.

From a technical standpoint, the film looks great. The scenery itself is beautiful and is further enhanced by the wonderfully detailed effects. However, I can never help but worry about the life span of the computerized effects, which will certainly show their digital seams in a matter of years. Right now though, it’s fantastic. The acting itself is superb and deserves a review all to itself. There’s a hilariously over-done performance by Robert De Niro, a very off-kilter scene with Ricky Gervais, and another wickedly inspired performance by Michelle Pfeiffer as a witch. Of course the main characters shine, but the movie never underestimates the supporting characters who each have a number of hilarious gags all to themselves. Still, what makes this film succeed is its focus on storytelling. Much like the fallen star, the movie glows brightest when the audience is given the chance to see its personality. This is clearly evident in the writing, which is never keen to pass up a chance to make light of the present situation or throw in a well-chosen gag. The dialogue is smart, witty, and all the while, still beneficial to the story.

So if this is everything you would want in a fairy tale, why wouldn’t it be shown in every church around the country? Well, at the price of that ingenious wit evident in the film, there are a number of jokes that (while being uncontrollably laugh-out loud hilarious for us adults) are simply too off-the-wall and promiscuous for the kiddies to enjoy. That means there’s a whole lot of innuendo’s, double-entendres, and tail ends of conversations that only the older crowd will get and the younger crowd will be blissfully unaware of. But so what? Let the kids be unaware. Let them watch it, enjoy it, and then get it when they’re in college. It’s no big deal if it’s not The Princess Bride, because it is a film all it’s own and unlike any other out there. It is undeniably entertaining, funny, and ultimately very endearing. The movie leaves you with a warmth and glow that carries on. In that respect it is more than welcome in the ranks of classic fantasy films and is well deserving of a place on everyone’s shelf as well as in their hearts.



Myself, being a lover of all things zombies and zombies related, essentially live for new zombie content to find it's way to the surface. This is why I greatly appreciated this little mash-up video popping up:


Becoming Jane Review

So I've met this girl through facebook ever since she friended me after reading one of my movie reviews for Becoming Jane. I think that was a run-on sentence, but it's okay. Anyways, she's really cool, and I was kind of worried the review would get lost in the great facebook archives, so I posted it here.

Here's the trailer for what I went to go see:

Here's the trailer for what I actually saw:

Becoming Jane

I thought it was odd that the theatre was filled with so many old people and teenage girls when I first sat down, but I quickly shrugged it off and thought it was good to see that these people were broadening their horizon's. About ten seconds into the opening credits I realized "Oh, crap. This isn't the 'Hot Rod' screening is it?" No, it wasn't Hot Rod. In fact, this was the anti-Hot Rod, and ironically, I would be the one to broaden my own horizons. Vanity Fair- I'm sorry, I mean Becoming Jane, wasn't terrible. It was just like every other period piece. Only problem is, I liked this movie better when it was called "Pride and Prejudice." Yeah, I get it, this is based off of Jane Austen's real life, and for those of you (Ladies, I presume) who live and die by all things Jane, you'll enjoy the incessant book references that went completely over my head. And I'm pretty sure there were some sexual references I didn't pick up on either.
This movie was obviously above my level.

About fifteen minutes into it I realized the only way I would ever enjoy something like this is if I were to wear a monocle, a top hat, and frequently sigh in a high pitched voice, "Oh dear!" "I do say!" or "Good show Governor!"
Unfortunately, I had to sit for two uncomfortable hours while the women around me gasped intermittently.

I like most "chick flicks." I saw the Devil Wears Prada three times while it was in the theatres, 13 Going on Thirty was amazing, I cried at Moulin Rouge. I understand. I have a friend who lives for all things Jane Austin, and I can practically see her curled up in her seat nudging on Jane to follow her heart. But I also have another friend, a guy, who would probably have as much fun watching this movie as he would being locked in a "Forever 21" store for forty eight hours straight.
The good actors and eye-candy (Hathaway) make it tolerable, but unfortunately none of them are given a chance to truly shine. Everything else is strictly run of the mill. The story itself is never engaging, resulting in frequent losses of attention and possible blackouts.
When it comes down to it, the movie needed more explosions, breasts, and possible web-slinging. What I'm trying to say is, and believe me that I would never say this other than in regards to this film, it needed to be a little more like "Crank."
Just go rent something more enjoyable instead.


Questionable Material

There are a lot of things i don't understand; mathematics, the time-space continuum, girls, but one thing I can always count on not making any sense is the entire nation of Japan.

This, perhaps, is a good example:

Now. Um. Hmmm. How long is this introduction song supposed to last? I don't know, maybe this IS the entire show. As far as the transvestite and cowboy with questionable mustache are concerned, I guess kids in Japan have different standards of entertainment:

Holy #@$*! What the?! I didn't quite understand the whole "behind the scenes"-esque footage of the two full body painted men killing each other, much the less why they were killing each other, or why they looked that way, or why he then killed the girl at the end. The only explanation I have is that it's a sick, sick world we live in. These people apparently understand:

Which brings us to


Here are the rules:
1. You have to guess the product being advertised before you watch it or before it is actually displayed.
(this may be a little hard because they're so short, but go with your first guess)
2. Post it in the comments.







the answers:
1. Pretzels
2. Some sort of magazine?
3. Pizza.
4. Toilets
5. Nicholas Cage, I guess...

yeah, your guess is as good as mine.
Well, I hope that was enough culture for you. Check back again soon!