Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Hangover Part II MOVIE REVIEW

The problem with most sequels are either that they stray too far away from what made them hits or that they stick too closely to the formula of the first.  Todd Phillip’s follow-up to his surprising summer comedy mega-hit The Hangover belongs to the latter, where most of the shock and charm of the first is lost to predictability. Part II throws the “Wolf Pack” together again with nearly the same exact turn of events, only instead of Vegas the group winds up stranded and hung over in Bangkok, having to put together piece by piece what happened the night prior whilst also trying to find their lost friend. 

Bit by bit, you can see how perfectly this film is in synch with the original.  In fact it’s somewhat impressive how Phillips manages to literally make the same film but alter the details enough to make it separate.  Without giving much away, a vest-wearing monkey replaces the baby, Stu gets a tattoo on his face instead of losing a tooth, and there’s even another “affair” held by Stu (this one however, more shocking than the last film).  If you analyzed each movie scene by scene they would perfectly overlap, which to me seems both like a job-well-done and a safe approach (maybe a little too safe).  Perhaps if the “overlaps” were more of nods or winks to the original film it would have felt more natural, but in this case the novelty wears thin and the first’s script is too heavily referenced.

The change of location from Vegas to Bangkok is a dreary one.  This film has a much darker edge to its comedy, which I think can work in certain instances, but the bubbly buddy comedy shtick that fans of the first film grew to love is missing here.  The bright flashy neon lights of Sin City are replaced with the gritty brown, green, and yellow-saturated colors of Bangkok.  I suppose at first glace it seems a wise decision to place the actors in a locale much different than their last adventure, but it ultimately did not work for me; the location added an unneeded level of danger and only furthered my opinion that a sequel was unnecessary.

If you are a fan of the original and are dying to see your favorite characters from Part I again, I wouldn’t discourage you from checking out The Hangover Part II.  Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, and Ed Helms make a great comedy trio and it’s they that elevate much of the material to watchability.  There are enough gags and yuks to satisfy most comedy-seekers, but if you were looking for a worthy follow-up to The Hangover, this is mostly just a cash-in flick that uses the same formula as its predecessor to ensure every last cent is squeezed out of the audience’s pockets.  As easy as it is to see right through this film, if all you’re looking for is a decent buddy comedy you may enjoy yourself.

Rating: C

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Insidious is the latest from Saw director James Wan, an old-school haunted house flick that harkens back to the likes of Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror.  Starring in the film are Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne (who can currently be seen opposite Kristen Wiig in the Hangover-for-women movie, Bridesmaids); they play a couple with three young children, a new house, and some weird happenings going on around the homestead.  I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but there is an event that happens in the movie that deviates the story away from a “normal” haunted house movie (though it does follow the same kind of pattern).  That event, although it happens early on, seems spoilerific to me so I’ll just shut my mouth.

As a huge horror movie fan and an uber-fan of Wan’s underappreciated masterpiece Saw, I really enjoyed Insidious.  The first two thirds of this movie gave the perfect sense of foreboding and subtle horror.  Every small noise or movement gave way to some real tension (coming as no surprise seeing as Oren Peli, director of Paranormal Activity, produced this picture).  The cast was great, with some familiar faces among the smaller parts, including Barbara Hershey (who plays another disheveled mother in last year’s Black Swan), Saw alumnus Leigh Whannell, and the I-know-I’ve-seen-her-before character actress Lin Shaye.  The monochromatic color palette provided a great look for the film, giving the projected image a distinctly nightmarish tone.  The majority of the movie is very watchable and could be one of the best traditional ghost movies in a long while.

The first half of the movie was full of suspense and quiet intensity, but as the film drew to its final act, things start to fall apart.  The great sense of mood and subtlety that was established prior is totally lost to pure in-your-face spectacle.  After setting up a certain atmosphere, these final moments felt jarring and out of place.  Those scenes taken in the context of another film might have worked; if only the filmmakers took the hint of “less is more” closer to heart.  Overall though, I think fans of the genre will enjoy it.  While the last act needs much improvement, the ride it took to get there was fun and scary.

Rating: B

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bridesmaids MOVIE REVIEW

I know much of my readership is comprised of people with a set of male genitals, but fear not, my manly companions, because Bridesmaids is funny, even whilst falling under the female-pandering rom-com “chick flick” genre.  Emerging funny lady Kristin Wiig co-stars with a lot of great comedic talent in this Judd Apatow produced picture, including SNL alumnus Maya Rudolph and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm.  The story follows Annie (Wiig), who is given the role of maid of honor for her best friend’s wedding, but with her own life in a jumble and her disposition quite unlike the expensive, “high class” mindset needed to organize the event, hijinks ensue and you will likely be wetting your knickers in jubilance. 

What makes the movie work is its solid cast.  For those worrying about this flick being too “clean,” don’t; there be scatological jokes galore and raunchy gags abound.  I thought the actual bridesmaids were pretty funny, my favorites being Wendi McLendon-Covey (who you might recognize from Comedy Central’s Reno 911!) and the very funny plus-sized character actress Melissa McCarthy (who snags many of the best lines in the film).  Although some of the jokes turn out flat and the story is predictable, because this cast is so good, down to even the smallest role, you’ll have a rollicking time regardless.

I understand the title may scare you.  “I would like one ticket for Bridesmaids.” Just thinking about saying it makes my testicles shoot right up inside me. Just belt it out with shoulders back, standing tall and exuding confidence.  I promise you your manhood will stay intact afterwards.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice, simple comedy.  It may not be the absolute funniest, get-the-wet-naps-because-I-pissed-myself laugh riot ever, but you could do a whole lot worse.  See it for a matinee chuckle, then burn the ticket so your “bro” friends won’t question why you saw a film about planning a wedding.

Rating: B-

Monday, May 9, 2011

Getting Started...

I probably should've started this blog a long time ago. Since 2007 I've reviewed (with some slip-ups) every film that I have seen in theaters during their main theatrical run.  Starting with Hostel: Part II, I first posted reviews to my Myspace page, which is now as dead as Osama bin Laden since Facebook has pretty much completely taken over all other social networking sites.  I also used to write reviews for my high school paper, but after graduating I stuck to posting reviews via Facebook "notes."  But now, hopefully by making this blog I can get a smidgen more exposure for my highly advanced craft...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...