Comedy At Its Best

The year 2008, just like any year, brought us a lot of really bad comedic films. We had a couple new installments to the Friedberg and Seltzer spoof series, a few of Will Ferrell’s flicks where he once again plays an adolescent man in an adults body and a fair share of teen titty comedies that get by with boobs, beer and bongs as humor material. However, 2008 also brought us a few of the best comedies to date like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Zack & Miri Make A Porno and the best of them all, Tropic Thunder. 2009 has thus far followed the same pattern. Millions of dollars went to waste making movies like Paul Blart Mall Cop, Fired Up, Observe & Report and Dance Flick. Fortunately we have also already gotten a few good ones into the year as well. In fact, I am going to go as far as to say that we have seen the best comedy of the year already and it can only be downhill from here till 2010.

Hangover, a movie title that summarizes the synopsis of the movie in perfect simplicity, was a plain old good time with countless laugh out loud moments and a cast that kept the whole audience in the theater I was in smiling the whole time. The trinity of actors who made up the main characters in the film, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms & Zack Gailifianakis, had perfect chemistry that got better and better as the movie progressed. The script was near perfect with dialogue that was funny in nearly every line they spoke. I love that this movie took 3 actors who have had great success to a small select group of people who actually know them, put them together in a feature length film and made the world realize how talented they all are.

Todd Phillips, whose only real success in his directing career can be called Old School, did a fanastic job with the script Jon Lucas, another not so successful film maker, wrote. The movie is not for the squeamish or conservative but I recommend it to anyone who is a little daring and wants to have a real good time at the theaters.


5 Reasons Why New Moon Will Be Better?

With the recent release of the first official New Moon trailer everyone is once again thinking about Edward and Bella and what happens next in their romantic saga. Fortunately I believe fans will be greeted with a much better film this time with the November release of the second installation to the series than with the first film. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed Twilight and think the production team and studio heads did the best they could with what they had to work with. But lets be honest, Twilight, without the adoration of its already enormous fanbase, would not have been even close to as successful as it was after its premiere in theaters. The movie had a diminutive budget, a crew of film makers who were more seasoned in TV than film, a production company that was unsteady on their feet from the beginning of production and an unseasoned director that was never really suited for taking on such an anticipated movie in the first place. If not for the strong screenwriting and impeccably perfect cast the movie would have slumped and the series might not have continued.

But it is continuing and this is where things get interesting. Things are going to be better this time and here is why…

1) Money, Money, Money!

Studio heads set up an estimated number that Twilight would need to reach in ticket sales in order to continue the project into the remaining books. Twilight not only met that number but blew it out of the water and kept on running. New Moon has a much bulkier budget behind it than its predecessor so quality control on all lanes of the film will not be a problem.

2) If you film it (and are successful), they will come!

By they I mean higher list actors and this movie has them this time. Not only did they take special care in setting up the roster for the new quileute pack, the casting coordinators have pulled in some big guns for the Volturi clan in Italy. Michael Sheen will be seen in the vampire trinity who runs their secret world and Dakota Fanning will be appearing as one his most honored guardsmen.

3) Like a good wine…

Good actors and actresses only get better as time goes by. Especially when they have more and more time to develop a character they are playing for multiple movies. All the familiar faces will be returning for New Moon from Twilight including Rob Pattinson & Kristin Stewart, the two people who literally made the Twilight film the success that it was. No one is getting left behind on the cast in this one, the only new actors are the ones filling in new roles.

4) Woooooah, listen to the music!

Carter Burwell may have brought us the real life melody of “Bella’s Lullaby” but other than that the film score for twilight was amateurish and bloated. Alexandre Desplat will be taking the reigns for the music in New Moon. You may have heard some os his work. His portfolio includes a couple big ones like “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “The Queen” & “Syriana”.

5) Out with the small time, in with the big time.

Catherine Hardwicke did her job well in Twilight but the books only get bigger and more intense after Twilight and everyone knew that she was not going to be the pick from the studios to handle anymore chapters in the franchise. Summit Entertainment chose Chris Weitz as the director for New Moon whose most recent success came in the form of The Golden Compass’ film adaptation.


Top 10 2009 Fanboy Summer Films

Summertime. The season where my Fanboy really gets to be fulfilled after hibernating through all the Oscar snobbery. Here are my top picks for this seasons fanboy films.

10) The Boat That Rocked – Really exciting cast plus the guy who brought you “Knotting Hill” and “Love Actually” in a new comedy. How can I not be waiting in anticipation.

9) The Hangover – Real reason I checked this one out is because Zach Galifianakis is in it. Turns out Ed Helms is in it too and it looks pretty funny.

8) Funny People – Co-produced by Happy Madison Productions and Apatow Productions with the leading guys from both companies heading up the casting line. You know you’re curious.

7) G.I. Joe – Any boy who grew up with the most awesome toy soldier in the world that was held together at the waist by a weird hook and rubber band contraption will be seeing this movie. I am one of those boys.

6) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Will gladly be paying the overly expensive ticket price at the box office to see some more ultimate fanboy madness in the form of robots in disguise. Thank you very much.

5)Up – Pixar. That is all that really needs to be said.

4) Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince – By far my favorite book from the series. Been waiting since last Winter when they pushed this one back to a Summer release.

3) Terminator Salvation – Can a terminator film be successful without Arnold headlining it? I think so. But don’t worry, our governor will be making a cameo just in case.

2) Star Trek – I was devistated when after the release of “Nemesis” it was said that there would no longer be any Star Trek films with the “Next Generation” cast. Fortunately one of the greatest minds in film entertainment took the reigns on this restart on the Star Trek film franchise. I’ll be lining up with the other Trekkies for this one the night before.

1) Wolverine – I would see this film just to hear that beautiful “Snikt!” sound once again coming from Hugh Jackman’s knuckles. This will be another definite midnight showing on my schedule. Luckily I have a fangirl wife to join me so I don’t look like a complete nerd for this one.


Top 10 2009 Cinesnob Summer Films

Quick listing of my cinesnob picks for this Summer. Unfortunately since Summer is more of a Fanboy season there are only 7 as opposed to the 10 stated in the post title. The number 10 just happens to look better when people see it on their blog reader.

7) State of Play – Same director of Last King of Scotland and a pretty strong cast. Political thriller based on a BBC television serial. Should be interesting

6) Little Ashes – British drama highlighting three of Spain’s greatest artistic minds in history. Very snobby script plus Robert Pattinson is in it and he is so dreamy. ‘Nuff said.

5) Taking Woodstock – True event based comedy-drama film about the family who owned the land Woodstock took place on. Very curious how Demetri Martin’s first feature film will do.

4) The Taking of Pelham 123 – Subway hostage situation movie with an “Inside Man” feel to it. Denzel and Travolta headlining this one, two actors I have great respect for.

3) The Soloist – Robert Downey Jr. & Jamie Foxx, two guys with great talent. Mix that in with classical music and the same writer from “Catch & Release” and “Erin Brockovitch”, should make some good mojo.

2) Public Enemies – Depp & Bale in a gangster bank robbing action-drama with Michael Mann at the helm. That’s just good math.

1) Inglourious Basterds – This is my next cinesnob obsession. Tarantino. Nazi war times. Brad Pitt. Who isn’t excited about this one is the better question.


A Cinesnob Speechless

This just in. “Fast and Furious”, the fourth installment to “The Fast And The Furious” film series, has officially broken the record for a spring movie release opening weekend box office results. Ever. After three days in theaters the film, starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, has already grossed $72.5 million. Thats is over $2 million more than the previous holder of the record, “300”.

As a cinesnob and even as a fanboy I am stunned. I knew Riverside, even the Inland Empire, would welcome this film with open arms but I had no clue that it would reach this kind of acceptance nationwide. A movie about fast, tricked out cars that boasts the same two guys who starred in movies like “The Pacifier” and “Into The Blue” as its leading male roles has just broken a world record in box office results in the first quarter of the film year. Now, I can come to grips with it being the highest grossing film of 2009 so far. (A) Other than Watchmen, 2009 hasn’t been the best year for really great movies so far and (B) Summer hasn’t come around yet for the real heavy hitters to come out. But still, its broken a record that goes beyond this year and into the history books of forever.

I may not like the film or its franchise but I gotta respect it at least for its ability to pull ticket sales like that in an economy like this with the box office having the hard times its been having for the last few years. Will I be seeing it? No. But I’ll give it a little clap for at least accomplishing something worth noting.


Watchmen: Fanboy Favorite (Spoiler Warning)

Had the chance to see Watchmen over the weekend. The movie based on the Alan Moore novel that came out in the 80’s that was deemed “unfilmable” by its creator. Alan Moore believed that there were things done in the graphic novel that could not be replicated in cinema. In fact, official comments show that Alan Moore has stated he will not be seeing the movie. Let me tell you, he is missing out on a great triumph.

It is no secret from anyone who has read this blog in the past that I have been anticipating this release for quite some time now so getting to see the film alone was a release for me. Zack Snyder took what he did with 300 and applied the same formula to Watchmen with equal if not greater results in many ways. He preserved the story, characters and art from the novel while changing and improving things along the way in order to translate it to film properly. I could talk about the movie for a while but I am going to touch on just two things that really stood out to me from the film and made it the success it is.

For one thing, the characters and actors who portrayed them were fantastic. Everyone was believable and stayed strong through the whole film. In my opinion there were no weak points in the cast although a few stood out from the rest, namely Jackie Earle Hailey who played Rorschach. His performance throughout the film was a perfect three dimensional adaption of the very colorful character it was based on from the novel. His final scene at the end of the film took two frames from the book and turned it into one of the greatest emotional moments of the movie.

The other thing I wanted to comment on was the alteration of the ending from the graphic novel. In the graphic novel the story ends with the character Ozymandias releasing a genetically created squid monster on the world causing everyone to cease their feuds with each other and band together against a common foe. Zack Snyder took what could have been an extremely perplexing end and turned into a great tie in that pulled everything from the film together into a surprising and revealing climax that not only made sense but looked better visually.

There were of course several things in the movie I would like to have seen different and even a few questions I wish I could ask Zack Snyder but overall I give the movie my approval as not only a fanboy but a cinesnob too.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: A Follow Up Review

I too have just recently experienced the Benjamin Button movie experience and I too was deeply moved by the themes and characters that David Fincher so eloquently introduced to his audience through the eyes of his lead character. As Adam already touched base on in his review of the movie, the theme of time, its importance and its fleetingness, was flooded throughout the entire film. This idea about being aware of the time we have on this earth and what we do with it is something I have coincidentally been recently wrestling with in my own personal life greatly so sitting through a 3 hour movie based on that idea was very inspiring and enlightening.

Brad Pitts choices in how he presented Benjamin throughout the movie were stellar at the least. Just the way he talked and reacted to the people around him was enough to make the audience think hard about every line of dialogue from either himself or the rest of the cast around him. I left the theater with feelings that haunted me the rest of the night and that is saying a lot about a film in my book. And not only did Mr. Fincher not disappoint me in the areas of story and characters, but he also pulled out all the stops in special effects and cinematography, using a lot of the old tricks we know and love him for as well as plenty of new ones.

This movie struck me as one that I don’t think most people will fully grasp or comprehend. I think on the surface most will take it as a special effects spectacle interlaced with a love story. But really its a magnificent film with an epic story that is reminiscent of movies like Forrest Gump, taking place over decades of time as it follows one mans unique walk through life. I hope that a lot of the early predictions are right and it will end up on some of the oscar rosters but even if it doesn’t I will be glad to have gotten to experience it.

June 2018
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