Friday, March 25, 2011

March Film Buffet of 12 Movies in 14 Days

So this whole Red State deal had me quite preoccupied and I promise that I shall now resume my regularly schedule programming...

So how about these Westboro Baptist Church wackos...just kidding...

I have been remiss in providing up to date reviews, but as I said in the first Red State post, seeing that film on the Kevin Smith Roadshow was a milestone in my film going life.  It wasn't the movie itself, the fact that now it seems God hates me, or that that we finally learned the truth about, it was all of it!  The experience of movie going is a passion of mine, and that was one hellova ride.  I enjoyed the evening and I enjoyed writing about my experiences.  I hope you enjoyed reading about it as well.

I welcome comments or questions always at and when possible, I will post the Q and A here in the blog.

So how about some movies, folks?

I have been to many since my last review post, which was for Hall Pass, oh so long ago.  I will try and bring you up to speed!

Reviews in this Post (5 Horn Scale)
The Adjustment Bureau - 5 Horns
Red State - 5 Horns
Rango - 4.5 Horns
Mars Needs Moms - 4.5 Horns
Battle: Los Angeles - 4.5 Horns
The Lincoln Lawyer - 4 Horns
Paul - 3.5 Horns
Take Me Home Tonight - 3 Horns
The Tempest - 3 Horns
Drive Angry 3-D - 3 Horns
Red Riding Hood - 2 Horns

Take Me Home Tonight - 3 Horns - There were several excellent experiences that came with seeing this film, and the movie wasn't one of them.  The movie was only okay and I laughed a bit, but it seemed like this film wanted to be more of a drama when it was presented in previews as a blow out comedy.  Dan Fogler was pretty awesome and I think that for some of his mild obnoxiousness, he is quite watchable in anything he does.  Topher Grace was a bit lackluster and while Anna Ferris was completely competent, this role was much more straight than her usual fare.  I very much liked Topher's lady, Aussie actress Teresa Palmer who I last raved on, in my Sorcerer's Apprentice review last year.  The best part of this movie for me was getting to go to it with my brother Steven, who was in town visiting.  The second best part was running into my friend, Sgt. Chip and his friend, Major Don.  In my book, the more the merrier when it comes to the movies and while Chip was very much the biggest fan of the flick in our group, his enjoyment of the film was infectious and it moved me from just seeing a mediocre comedy to the category of actually enjoying the film, just being able to share in the laughs with friends.  Ahhhhh the power of cinema.

The Adjustment Bureau - 5 Horns - I absolutely loved this movie!  It was made with the highest of production values and the city of New York is a palpable character in this film.  Matt Damon is stellar (as always) and Emily Blunt is clearly established as one of Hollywood's finest young actresses.  Don't agree with me?  Go see this movie.  Yes, it is high concept and it is full of rich characters with roots in the oldest of human literature.  It is based on the short story "Adjustment Team" by a legend in Science Fiction, Phillip K. Dick.  I have heard complaints that this is more a romance than a sci-fi, but I disagree.  There is such thing as a romantic sci-fi.  The sci-fi is overt.  The romance is overt.  The message has been decried by some as corny, but I loved it.  See this movie in the theater, you won't be disappointed.

Drive Angry 3-D - 3 Horns - This is a B-movie with Blockbuster sensibilities.  That said, it still falls short of something really worthwhile.  The film was shot in 3-D, which means the 3-D scenes are actually decent.  Nic Cage is standard Cage, which I don't hate, so that's alright.  Amber Heard is a hot mama who gets pretty deft at kicking butt.  William Fitchner is always enjoyable as is his turn as the hammy straight man in hell's Accountant, set out to recover the escaped soul in Cage.  There are some enjoyable moments, with much tongue-in-cheek laughs to be had by the movie's most graphic sex scene.  I think they were thinking about MY BLOODY VALENTINE's naked 3-D scene when they shot this.  The main baddie is played by Billy Burke, a primary in Red Riding Hood and perhaps best known today as Charlie Swan in The Twilight Saga,  Burke is suitable for the role and his delivery fits the over-the-top B-movie feel.  Like I said, not great, but moderately fun.  Go with friends or see it in a crowded theater.

Battle: Los Angeles - 4.5 Horns - This is an action-packed thrill-ride that at its center has real heart.  The movie looks and sounds stellar.  I am not crazy about the $4 up charge for AMC's ETX theater, but I would have paid double that for the crisp look and feel that the ETX delivered for Battle: LA.  Don't believe the hype!  This movie is fun and Aaron Eckhart is a talented actor around who this Summer Blockbuster-worthy flick is built.  Yes, there are many cliches afoot here, but come on...this movie's fantastically adrenalin charged scenes make up for the stuff that is rehashed from similar previous films.  I said it in previous posts, I respect any sci-fi film with this kind of scope, that lives in the daylight rather than in the shadows of night.  This movie is something like ALIENS, on earth, and under the bright of day.  ALIENS is the superior film by quite a bit, but Battle: LA holds its own!

Rango - 4.5 Horns -  This kid's flick ain't really for kids, folks.  It is a fantastic film that is rich in characters.  It is not to be missed and while there are enough interesting visuals to keep the kids semi-happy, the adults will really see the humor and the depth that this film has to offer.  Johnny Depp himself has become somewhat a cliche of wild character films, but he does Rango true justice and yes, even though we rarely get to see Depp in any kind of subdued role, his wild eyed range adds to Rango in the best possible ways.  In most animated films, it is hard to look past the voices to see the characters.  In this film, these characters live and breathe on their own.  I challenge you to pinpoint any of the talent behind the voices, outside of Depp and a very obvious Timothy Olyphant-astic.  This film is a pure animated spaghetti western disguised as Nickelodeon fodder.  You will have a great time at this movie!

Red Riding Hood  --- see also, KIMBALIANO --- While I don't disagree with her assessment, I think I liked it a hair more than she.  What was most upsetting, was the promise that the concept of this film showed.  I would have thought someone would have realized the acting by the B-players came off as excessively wooden and some of the cliche film making techniques would relegate this film to a campiness that is way too short of the fun that usually accompanies camp.  My rating: 2 Horns

Red State --- 5 Horns --- asked and answered, counselor.  See also, my last three posts.

Mars Needs Moms 3-D - 4.5 Horns - There is much more heart in this film than I expected.  I mentioned above the watchability of Dan Fogler...he pleases in animated form as well.  Don't miss the credits as the secrets of the making of and mo cap methods are revealed.  And don't worry, while Seth Green is created as portraying Milo, the lead, he does so only in movements and mo cap.  Milo is actually voiced by an unknown voice actor who does true justice to the youthful vigor needed for this passionate young man.  Yes, if you want some serious brownie points, go with your mother.  You will hold each other during the tender scenes near the end of the film and you will feel better as a human being!

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Director's Fan Cut 3-D - yes...I shrunk the text size just a little bit, in hope that maybe you would slip right past this one...let me qualify this film with a few comments...

I only went to see it because of the 2011 Reel Rhino Oscar Pool prize.  See also, the champion: Queen Kristin.  If you saw that post, then you may understand the nature of her sadistic behavior.  The winner got to choose one movie for me to review.  Ms. Kristin choose the Biebs.

I was obligated to fulfill my welch on a bet is the lowest form of existence...

I loved this movie. Hands Down: 5 Horns (review forthcoming, but take my word, this is not the film you think it is.  This movie had heart and was a well told story of a self-made star.)

The Tempest - 3 Horns - Yowza...I fell head over heels in love with Julie Taymor's ACROSS THE UNIVERSE in 2007.  It is a wonderful movie if you haven't seen it.  I was never really a Beatles fan, now I am.  Thank you Ms. Taymor.  Now, if you could only please explain The Tempest to me, I would be most obliged!  The Tempest is a visually beautiful film that contains a story I had quite a hard time following and ultimately understanding.  Near the end of the film, when I sensed a major conflict or showdown of sorts approaching....roll credits.  I fancy myself a fairly savvy guy, but I was a little bit in the dark on this one.  It is based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name, which is famously his last work in which the monologue by Prospero (actually Prospera in the film, played by Helen Mirren) is said to be Shakespeare's farewell to the stage.  Maybe the Cliff's Notes is the key to my understanding?  Oh how my High School English teachers would be disappointed :-(

Paul - 3.5 Horns - I loved the references this film delivered at every turn!  It was pure fun to see all my favorite movies from the last thirty years to be used very organically within the dialogue of this film.  That said, there was just something missing.  I can't explain it, but it missed that spark that made me love it.  I enjoyed the F Bombs a plenty and the alien dong references.  Kristen Wiig is subtly funny as hell and overall, the supporting cast is fantastic.  I predict with additional viewings, I will love this movie!  See also: Anchorman.

The Lincoln Lawyer - 4 Horns - I had a root canal on Friday and saw this on Sunday, my cheek all sorts of throbbin'.  I definitely was not in the right mindset to see this movie.  I walked out a little disappointed and a little sleepy.  After further reflection, I promoted The Lincoln Lawyer to a 4 from a 3.5.  I may see it again in the theater, but more likely I will wait for BluRay.  McConaughey is in top form and this film is loaded with great character actors.  The ending plays out like something on par with a cheesy Lifetime actually made me awkwardly think of the ending to one of my all time favorites, Fletch.  The ending be damned, the movie is enjoyable and like Paul, I think with another viewing or two, I will really find a place in my rotation for this flick.  I do think I will like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter a little more...but that will be a story for another day.

That is quite a list, yes I know...what is on tap for this weekend?  For starters, a guys movie day to see...



SUCKER PUNCH: The IMAX Experience is on tap for Saturday and let me tell you....I am excited!  Zach Snyder can do little wrong in my book and I stand by that he gave us 100% the best version of Watchmen that we could have ever expected, given the material.  I can't wait to see what he does with the Superman reboot, but for now, a little Punch should hold me over.  Check out the trailer that is embedded below!

Until then....Reel Rhino is outtie-bo-boutie! (Yep, that just happened.)



  1. If I could ever meet that guy I would really just have to punch him in the face. I drove past their church once. They were outside teaching toddlers how to protest. If it weren't for the present toddlers I probably would have drove by again and egged them. With really old rotten eggs. The ones that go missing on Easter and you don't find them until the dog finds it and brings it into your house.