Monday, November 21, 2011

A Plethora of Movies, Including Twilight....oooooohhhh....Twilight

Jeffe, did you say I had a plethora of movies?  Ah, yes El Whoppa, I did say you have a plethora of movies.

A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas - 2 of 5 Horns
Anonymous - 4 of 5 Horns
J Edgar - 3 of 5 Horns
Immortals 4.5 of 5 Horns
Our Idiot Brother - 4 of 5 Horns
Martha Marcy May Marlene - 4 of 5 Horns
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 - 3 of 5 Horns

Sorry for the delay folks!  I have been mighty busy...a garage sale, raking leaves, fighting takes a toll on a big fella!

As for the present moment (yeah, okay...this post is a few days old!), Mrs. Reel Rhino is out with some other ladies taking in the AMC Stubs Special Event, also known as, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I.  Ohhhhhhhh....Team Jacob....Team Edward!  Everybody get sooooooo excited.  Stay tuned for the Twilight review at the bottom of the page.

I am not a Twi-hater, but I do have fundamental problems with these movies.  I think the wooden acting has killed these films in a manner similar to the Hayden Christensen-Star Wars debacle.  This series would have been so better served by teens who could actual emote.  These kids, for their deep Shakespearean love, really fail to act like anything resembling real teens.  I hope these last two films are at least decent, as for all my complaining, I will have to still see it.

A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas: 2 of 5 Horns
FROM IMDB: "Six years after their Guantanamo Bay adventure, stoner buds Harold Lee and Kumar Patel cause a holiday fracas by inadvertently burning down Harold's father-in-law's prize Christmas tree."  

A sub-par entry into the H&K series, there are a few decent gags, but otherwise, this film falls completely flat.  I mean that IMDB synopsis pretty much says it all.  This flick is saved by the presence of Neil Patrick Harris only, as everything this guy touches, seems to turn to gold.

I only wonder what "the community" will think about NPH forsaking his gayness, even if for the sake of a comedic bit.  His bravery to live out loud was praised, but the whole thing is proclaimed a gag in this flick, as a ploy to get chicks.  I get the joke, and perhaps his supporters will as well.  I am a firm believer that in the name of comedy, all can be forgiven, but for such a sensitive issue these days, maybe it was too much too soon.

Other than a very enjoyable role by NPH, this film is clearly a must miss.

Anonymous: 4 of 5 Horns
FROM IMDB: "A political thriller advancing the theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford who penned Shakespeare's plays; set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I, and the Essex Rebellion against her."

This is the "real" story of William Shakespeare, as told by the master of disaster, Roland Emmerich.  "They" say that this is the first film by Emmerich that actually is a truly decent film.  While I believe that this is a truly decent film, I do think that Emmerich's The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, and The Patriot were all wholly enjoyable, albeit somewhat guilty pleasures.

Supposedly, the works of William Shakespeare were actually written by "Anonymous," and in a moment of haste, when the call for the talents of the writer of a stage play was being chanted, Shakespeare stepped up and took the credit.

This film was at times hard to follow, as events unfold in 3 different times and in a variety of venues.  And it is very much a period piece, with everyone dressed in drab garb.

But for whatever this film got wrong, it got right the presentation of a really enjoyable film spinning a tale that for some scholars, may be an actual portrayal of the history of The Bard.  It is one part drama, one part comedy, one part action....Check it out if you get a chance, it is a really decent 2 hours in the theater.

J Edgar: 3 of 5 Horns
FROM IMDB: "As the face of law enforcement in America for almost 50 years, J. Edgar Hoover was feared and admired, reviled and revered. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life."

I will lead with this: this film WILL take the Oscar for Best Makeup.  For the three leads, Leo, Armie Hammer, and Naomi Watts, they aged them perfectly.  The old detraction from their appearance was the jarring nature of hearing Leo speak through an old man's body.

This is a film with great potential, but far less delivery.  It is a thinker, not a doer, and it plays out as a procedural of J Edgars life, with too little action but for a couple of dynamic arrest scenes.

The speculation to J Edgar's personal proclivities is the interesting aspect of this movie.  There were some high points on the history of the FBI's major cases, most notably, the Lindbergh Kidnapping.  I found the presentation of the kidnapping and investigation very plain.  Now I speak from a position of insider authority on the Lindbergh case as I have studied it and presented on it professionally.  I think to an extent, this dulled this bit of the tale, and it covered a solid chunk of the flick.

What I did like, as a CSI myself, was the depiction of the creation of the FBI Crime Lab, not the first one in the country, but the first with the scope and impact that the FBI lab had on crime fighting, most notably at the time, the collection and categorizing of the fingerprints of known offenders.

All in all, I was entertained by this movie, but just not moved the way I have been in the past from the offerings of Clint Eastwood.

I will say there was a fair amount of hate in my theater, for every time the bits concerning the speculated homosexual behavior of the legendary lawman hit the screen, some of my fellow moviegoers felt the need to offer guffaws, and one guy actually yelled out "that's bullshit!" 

No my friend, you are the bullshit.

Immortals: 4.5 of 5 Horns
FROM IMDB: "Theseus is a mortal man chosen by Zeus to lead the fight against the ruthless King Hyperion, who is on a rampage across Greece to obtain a weapon that can destroy humanity."

I love the films of Tarsem Singh...for pre-viewing research, check out The Fall, from 2006 or The Cell from 2000...yep, The Cell...that flick with J Lo.  Both films are so vivid, the decent stories in each are forgiven for the stunning visuals.

Mirror, Mirror, the other Snow White click, is due in early 2012 and it will be Tarsem's fourth film and I have high hopes.  I also like the look of Snow White and The Huntsman.  If you haven't yet, check out the trailer.

Immortals is a really well made film, that like Tarsem's previous efforts, look beautiful.  This is an example of 3-D truly enhancing the product by giving great depth of field.

This is a fantasy, and there are bit with the Greek Gods intertwined with the story of the mortals, and the one who would save them.

Henry Cavill is Theseus.  Henry Cavill is the next Superman, in the Chris Nolan produced reboots.  Cavill shows himself here to be fully capable in the hero role.  His boyish looks have a sense of innocence that should translate well into the Clark Kent side of Supe.

Mickey Rourke plays King Hyperion in yet another role in which he seems to have born to play.

There is a fight sequence towards the end of the film that is Matrix-esque and for 2011, just as exciting.

Immortals is billed as being from the Producers of 300, and it is worth the billing.  Stephen Dorff is

Martha Marcy May Marlene: 4 of 5 Horns
FROM IMDB: "Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult."

This film may be best known for starring an Olsen, not one of the twins, even younger...Elizabeth Olsen, 22 years old, and a fragile being in this film, freshly escaped from a collective farm/cult.  She flees into the arms of a long lost sister, two years removed from each other's lives while she was living under the roof of "the family." 

The "father," Patrick, is played masterfully by John Hawkes.  Hawkes is coming off a banner 2010 having been nominated for best supporting actor for his role of Teardrop in Winter's Bone.  Not to typecast this force of the silver screen, but he was built for roles like this, a very similar character, hard and worn, to last year's Teardrop.

After two years in the family, Martha has had enough, and one morning, she hits the trail at the crack of dawn.  She calls her sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson), and after being gone for two years, she is more than happy to reconnect with Martha.

Martha is not forthcoming with what she has been through, but it becomes obvious to Lucy, that something is wrong.  It is also obvious to Ted (Hugh Dancy), Lucy's husband, who had never met Martha, and who is very astute to Martha's oddities.

The film is told in two parts, toggling back and forth from the beginning of Martha's run with the family and the beginning of her time again with her long lost sister.

The tension in this film builds as the running time continues...but it never rises to its billing as a thriller, which is really my only complaint.  The tension comes from Martha's experiences in the family and the discomfort that grows as Martha's social awkwardness grows less and less tolerated. 

I enjoyed this film and I think that Olsen, Hawkes, and Paulson will all be contenders come Oscar season, as well as screenwriter and director Sean Durkin, who has already been nominated for Best Breakthrough Director in the Gotham Awards.

Check it out, if for no other reason, to see something different from the mostly trashy flicks playing in theaters now.

Speaking of trash...

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1: 3 of 5 Horns
Now the Mrs. Reel Rhino disagrees with my feelings of mundanity towards this penultimate entry into the Stephanie Meyer series, but it isn't the first time I have disputed with my lady, and it won't be the last.

There were a few decent moments in this flick, but my chief complaint remains this is such a far fetched presentation of teens, let alone teens in love.  I guess living as long as Edward has, you could do little else but be a piney little whiner.

If you remember a few posts ago, I gave the Team Jacob flick, Abduction, a passing 4 of 5 horns review.  That review stands, and I also think that T Laut is one of the few people in this flick that can actually act. Lautner, Billy Burke, and Ashley Greene, and Anna Kendrick are really the ones in this that I find palatable.  Billy Burke because he;s a cool dude, Kendrick because she is legitimately talented albeit misused as a comic sidekick honoring the role she created before she hit it big, and Ashley Green because, well as Mrs. Reel Rhino put is, is adorable.

Lautner had me going full on Team Jacob, until that scene were he was wolfed out and has the meeting with his wold pack, him proclaiming "I follow no one....I am the grandson of a chief!!!!"  The wolfpack scene was re-dick-U-lous.

I didn't hate this movie...I just find it more silly than it had to be, and for a richer bit of acting, the story may actually have stuck a little more solid. 

Notice how I didn't mention Kristen Stewart....yep, that was on purpose.  I only hope she is asleep through much of Snow White and the Huntsman, which otherwise looks pretty damn good.  I'm not trying to judge, but she is terribly melodramatic.

See this movie if you must.  See it on the big screen if you plan on seeing it, as it will accentuate it just a little bit...speaking of accentuating the movie going experience.  There was a crying infant front and center.  The screaming lasted from beginning to end...intermittently.  When the baby wasn't yelling, the other audience members the baby's parents.  Nice.  See also, my last post on being an ass at the theater.  These people qualified whole hearted as a bunch of asses.  Nice one.

Our Idiot Brother: 4 of 5 Horns
From IMDB: "A comedy centered on an idealist who barges into the lives of his three sisters."

A formulaic, but enjoyable film, featuring Paul Rudd as said Idiot Brother.  This film has a star studded cast in Rashida Jones, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan, T.J. Miller, and Kathryn Hahn.

Basically, Paul Rudd is sent to jail for selling weed to a uniformed officer.  This act should give some insight to the intelligence level of the man, but what you also see out of the gate is the heart of this guy.  He is as compassionate and caring as he is idiotic, but most of his caring leads to more idiotic antics.

After being released from jail, we see him bounce from his mother's house, to each of his sister's, and back to his mother's.  In each scenario, Rudd's Ned gets involved in the lives of his family, and in each scenario, he gets them into hot water.

The formulaic part is that in the end, everyone is better for the chaos that has invaded their lives.  That is no spoiler, but only info as to the type of movie...for take away the f-bombs and weed dealing, and this would almost qualify as a feel good family film.

Instead, we have a really competent adult comedy with a decent feel good flow to it.

Check it out when you get a chance, which will likely be at home as this flick has already been through a pretty limited run in the theaters.


That's a lot of movies!  I am about spent and for now, I will bid you adieu.  Until next time, take care!
Reel Rhino

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