Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jennifer's Body

Diablo Cody has done it again. But this time she's seemed to have written a little more closely to her actual style as a human being. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this script came from the pen of a foul mouthed ex-stripper from Chicago. Trust me- it just doesn't. Diablo has written a much more racy, sexy, scary, and gory script here compared to the independent light-hearted Juno. Let's just say that Jennifer would eat Juno AND her baby if she had the chance.

The film is about Jennifer Check played by the gorgeous and seductive Megan Fox. I don't think anyone in Hollywood deserves to be called seductive more than Fox. Jennifer's a cocky, sexy, bad-girl cheerleader who's best friend Needy Lesnicky happens to be pretty much the complete opposite. It's funny seeing them be "best friends" on screen as Jennifer literally pushes Needy around and forces her to come out to a strange white trash bar one night to watch a young up-and-coming band perform. That's where the shit hits the fan. After the bar burns down and the band takes Jennifer off in their creepy "1969 Rape" van out to the middle of the woods to perform an ancient witch craft sacrificial ceremony on her, let's just say that all does not go so well, for Jennifer that is. After getting transformed into a sucubus, a sexy one at that, she secretly terrorizes the town killing off high school kids until Needy finds out and has to try to put a stop to it after she fears for her boyfriends life.

You can't give all the credit to Diablo here. Director Karyn Kusama has done a pretty decent job creating a creepy looking film that flows nicely throughout without letting a second of boredom able to seep in. We're constantly being entertained with what's going on on-screen. But Diablos script offers such great fright and comedic originality with scenes that have Jennifer drinking the blood right out of a guys stomach, and having the town set in a place called Devil's Kettle. I can't help but being reminded of another film with similar qualities that came out a few years ago called Teeth, another film that I would recommend if you liked Jennifer's Body. If John Waters made a horror film today, it would be like one of these two films.

Finally, I must say that going into this I wasn't really sold on Megan Fox yet. She didn't do too much for me in the Transformers films and with her being in the media so much she really became kind of obnoxious. But Jennifer's body is Fox's film. She carries the film the entire way and adds a lot to the character with her sexy/scary stares and her quirky line delivery. Lets hope she gets more roles of this nature in the future instead of just being the hot chick to stare at. Although a few things with the story still just don't quite add up to me. One being how the bar actually caught on fire, as well as another thing but it would spoil the film if I mentioned it. The good thing is the rest of the film certainly makes up for it. If you go into this film knowing what to expect and look to have a great time, you'll definately have a lot of fun with this picture. As for Diablo Cody, please for the love of god, keep writing more stuff like this. 3 outa 5.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Funny People

Adam Sandler has been going through some tough times lately career wise. I'm sure he's got loads of cash still, that's a given, but his choices in films have been sub-par to say the least and haven't been delivering at the box office. At one point Sandler was the king of comedy. His films like Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, The Wa Wa Water Ba Ba Boy, and even Big Daddy were once at the top of the totem poll, but he hasn't had anything close to that level of comedy film making since then, and it's sad. I really feel for the guy. Then Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen completely took over the scene and nobody gave a shit about Sandler. Well that's basically what Funny People is about, an aging comedian who's slowly being pushed out of the scene by the new guys, which in the film happens to actually be Seth Rogen and directed by Judd Apatow.

I really took this film in as a character study of Sandlers own life and that's what made the film so interesting to me. Sandler plays George Simmons a seasoned comedian who learns that he's dying and only has a few months to live. After being shown up at the comedy club one night by an up and coming comedian Ira, played by Seth Rogen, George decides to make Ira his personal assistant as well as his friend. George pretty much tells Ira straight up that he's dying and this is why your here. Ira's ecstatic, it's his dream job. But he soon comes to find that working for the legend of comedy isn't all that it's cracked up to be as George treats Ira at times with the utmost disrespect. Other than this aspect of the story the character George really does seem based off of Sandler. There's even a running joke throughout the film about Georges older "Adam Sandler like" films that he's starred in, and the funny film posters that are just laying all around his house. One of them was even about a baby, and George played the baby.

The film was marketed as a drama which turned a lot of people off as it pretty much bombed at the box office considering the star quality it had. But I found the film to be although very serious and sad at a lot of points also very very funny. There is a lot of really great crude humor in this that really works, because these guys are comedians and that's the way they talk. The "dick" word count in this film is an ongoing theme and probably reaches to no joke around forty or fifty. The film does have a weird feeling to it at points though. I just don't understand why George treats Ira the way that he does, especially towards the end of the film which really takes a dramatic turn for the worst. I understand that he's dying, or was dying, that he's being out-shined by younger comedians, and that his family life is in the dumps. But is that a reason to be a complete miserable ass hole?? I mean George is still a multi millionaire. But I do recognize his anger. When you were once one of the best and most popular comedic actors of your time and one day you literally wake up and realize that you're being taken over by a much younger newer group of guys in Hollywood, it's gotta be tough. It's gotta be the toughest thing a guy like George or Sandler can go through, because this is what he's done his whole life, and Sandler delivers that perfectly in his performance with his depressing facial expressions, blah attitude, and his lack of enthusiastic words.

Not a lot of people may know this but Sandler and Apatow were actually roommates growing up. There's a really great heartfelt scene in the opening of the film where we see vintage home video footage of Sandler being filmed by Apatow. Sandler's on the phone making a crank call and he can't even keep it together, he's laughing so damn hard he can barely even spit out his words to finish the call. This scene already says so much to the audience about who these "funny people" really are. They're people who were born with comedic genes, people who were made to make people laugh, it's all they have, take that away from them and they got nothing. This world needs people like that. A solid 3 1/2 outa 5 stars.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Love You Phillip Morris

I had the absolute privilege of being able to see this at a pre-screening in May of 2009. Having only seen the poster online, I had no idea what to expect from this film. I knew that Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor were in it, that it was based on a true story, and that it was somewhat of a comedy. Two hours later I left that theater saying to myself and peers that that was one of the most incredible true stories that I've ever seen- especially the end. It says something in the beginning of the film like, "this film is based on a true story, I swear....this really happened....really." People were laughing, but this was such a necessary thing to disclose, because, by the end of the film, the entire plot seems totally fanciful.

The film stars Jim Carrey as Steven Russell. Steven separates from his wife early on in the film because well....he's 100% gay. We find this out in an explicitly awkward yet funny scene while Steven is bedding who we think is his wife, then as the head rises we see that it's....yup, a man screaming "fuck my ass!!" The theater was shocked by this; Gasps were heard followed by laughs throughout the crowd. It's from this point forward that we now know exactly what is going on here, and the film really takes off. We soon find out that Steven's also a con man and an impostor. He's one of the best con men I've seen on the silver screen. He's out there conning everybody, and he's addicted to it. He's buying gold watches, lavish cars, boats, and even houses. He even cons his way into landing himself a mid six figure a year job. But it catches up to him. Soon after getting thrown in jail he meets, the one, the only, Phillip Morris played by Ewan McGregor and yes they fall in love. The things that Steven does for Phillip in jail are amazing, going as far as somehow getting himself transfered into the same cell as Phillip, just like that. The film has a very odd feel to it. It's a bit of Catch Me If You Can, a bit of Brokeback Mountain, and a bit of The Truman Show mixed with Me Myself and Irene. It took some getting used to at first. I really want to talk more about what this guy did but I just cant give it away. I will say that as the film goes on Steven escapes from jail MULTIPLE times and does something at the end of the film for Phillip that I still can't believe. Simply one of the best endings I've ever seen. I can't wait until this gets released so that I can take everyone I know and just watch their reactions to it.

Hopefully this will get a proper release date soon. It's best bet would be before Oscar season because Carrey would have a good chance at getting a nom. 4 and 1/2 outa 5.

The Hangover

It's funny how the worse the hangover is, the better the time was the night before. The four main characters in The Hangover are suffering from the worst hangover in their entire lives throughout the last 3/4's of the film. But this film is so funny and well done that, as I was watching it, I couldn't stop thinking about how I wish I was in one of these characters shoes right now experiencing this hangover.

Todd Phillips is best known for directing Road Trip and Old School, two films that have become modern "party film" classics. I love how Phillips is getting more mature with his films in a way that the main characters are getting older but still know how to have a great time-because that's what life is all about in the long run, having a good time, and that's what guys do. The age range for the film is 16-50 in my opinion. You can be a father of two, go and watch this film, and walk out of the theater on your cell planning your next trip to Vegas with the boys. That's how excited this film will make you. Most of the films charm comes from the four main characters, all unique in their own ways, Phil, Stu, Doug, and Doug's soon to be brother in law Alan. They're all going to Vegas a few days before Dougs wedding to have the night of their lives, and it probably would have been, if they could only remember what happened. After they lose Doug, the boys retrace their steps trying to figure out just"what the hell happened last night". It's like Memento after a bottle of whiskey. After dodging death at the little chapel house, getting knocked the fuck out by Iron Mike Tyson, and picking up your stolen cop car from the valet, they somehow figure it all out. There are so many other crazy things that go down, but you'll have to see for yourself.

This film is a huge career boost for Bradley Cooper, previously seen in Wedding Crashers, who plays Phil. He nails the role right on the head as a sleazy school teacher who can't let the party life go. But a family man with a heart as well, as we learn at the end of the film. A man I think many men out there can relate to. The main message in The Hangover is that friends stick together. They stick together through family ties, through sons and daughters, through girlfriends, fiances, good and bad times, and they still know how to have a good time. Cheers. 4 and 1/2 stars.