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The Proposal (2009) PG-13 107min


June 24th, 2009 by Maxim · 2 Comments · 30,515 Views

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Talented Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses, Step Up), a choreographer, an actress and a film producer, directed “The Proposal” – a romantic comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock.

The plot: Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock), chief editor or a publishing house, is a monstrous boss. When her visa application is denied ans she is threatened with deportation to Canada, she forces her young assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her. But the scheme does not sit well with immigration officer Mr. Gilbertson (Denis O’Hare), who is determined to prove that the couple is committing a fraud. Andrew and Margaret now have to act like a couple to deceive him and Andrew’s family.

The good: I think the best part of the movie is the chemistry between Andrew and Margaret and their body language. Ramone (Oscar Nuñez) was a great character – in the small town of Sitka, Alaska, he is the waiter, a store clerk, a stripper and a priest! Also funny how employees at the publishing house were coping with Margaret’s despotic behavior. This movie should spark an increase in travel to Alaska: the scenery was gorgeous. Nice closing sequence.

The bad: The movie is completely predictable. It’s basically “Meet the parents” with a different setup. I already knew the ending and the story line right after watching the trailer. No surprises there. Also the green-screen CGI where eagle snatched the puppy was ridiculously poor quality. Many jokes were taken too far. The naked collision scene was a dead giveaway and a forced set-up. It’s also hard to believe that Andrew, who knew Margaret for three years and hated her but stayed around because of “high work ethics” despite her being a despotic and inconsiderate, would fall in love to her in three days. Is it true that all it takes is to put a man and a woman in the same room for three days and two nights? The ex-girlfriend character was a wasted potential for extra drama. The relationship between Andrew and his father (Craig T. Nelson) was under-developed.

The summary: I went to the movie with very low expectations and only because I already promised Elena to see it with her and because I felt guilty about convincing her to see “The Hangover” previously. But I was presented with a surprise – this chick flick is actually pretty good. Could be a good date movie.

Memorable quotes:

Office employee [on IM when Margaret walks in]: “The Witch is on the Broom!”

Grandma Annie [upon being introduced to Margaret]:  Do you prefer Margaret or “Satan’s Mistress”?

Random comments:

Surprisingly, the audience was about 70% male. And they laughed outloud and seemed to enjoy it. I don’t know if that’s consistent in all showings, or was it because they were trying to kill time between 8pm show and the opening of the “Transformers” – there was a lot of people in front of the theater on loan chairs.

Sandra Bullock is getting old.

Notice that the grandma was taken to hospital by a sea-plane. General aviation saves lives and really does serve America. Think about that next time your airline flight is delayed and the airline blames general aviation. According to airlines’ own data, 50% of all delays are airline’s own fault. 40% are weather-related delays (and as mid-air breakup of Air France indicates, you don’t mess with weather).

The cast: Margaret Tate - Sandra Bullock | Andrew Paxton - Ryan Reynolds | Grace Paxton - Mary Steenburgen | Joe Paxton - Craig T. Nelson | Grandma Annie – Betty White | Mr. Gilbertson - Denis O’Hare | Gertrude – Malin Akerman | Ramone – Oscar Nuñez | Bob Spaulding – Aasif Mandvi

The crew: Director – Anne Fletcher | Writer – Pete Chiarelli | Producers – Sandra Bullock, Kristin Burr, David Hoberman, Alex Kurtzman, Todd Lieberman, Mary McLaglen, Roberto Orci | Original Music – Aaron Zigman | Cinematography – Oliver Stapleton

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Rated 3/5 on Jun 24 2009
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→ 2 Comments · 30,515 ViewsTags: Chick Flick · Comedy · Movies · Romance · USA

The Hangover (2009) R 100min


June 22nd, 2009 by Maxim · No Comments · 26,424 Views

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Director Todd Phillips continues along the lines of his previous comedies, “The Old School” (2003) and “Road Trip” (2000).

The plot: The movie opens with one of the groom’s friends calling the bride and telling her the Doug is not going to make it. Because they lost him. In Las Vegas. After a crazy bachelor party night, the tree wake up in a trashed hotel room, with Mike Tyson’s tiger in the bathroom and a chicken walking around. They have to retrace their steps to find him on time to return to the wedding.

The good: Few chuckles here and there. I liked Heather Graham who played a hooker with a heart of gold and Zach Galifianakis’ character was entertaining. Rob Riggle (from “The Daily Show”) had a couple of funny moments on the screen. Great set up and opening. Nice twist with the second Doug. I liked that every character has some profound personality problems.

The bad: This comedy is not funny at all. However it is full of gross-out moments, including male nudity, fight scene ala ”Borat”, urination, blow job etc. etc. Where fantasy of script writers ran out, they substituted jokes for gross scenes that were passes for funny. The was no genuine laughter in a relatively full theater, but there was a lot of howling, Ooooos and Aaaas and “I can’t believe he just did that”. Except for Zach Galifianakis who played a colorful (but forgettable) character with a court order prohibiting him from being closer then 2000 feet from any place where children congregate, the characters are not particularly interesting. I asked three of my friends, what was the funniest moment in the movie? “They stole the police car”. Yawn.

The summary: One of the worst slapstick comedies I’ve seen. Not funny and gross. Take “Dude, Where Is My Car” and take away the humor. Is this what’s passing for funny these days?

The cast: Phil Wenneck - Bradley Cooper | Stu Price - Ed Helms | Alan Garner - Zach Galifianakis | Doug Billings - Justin Bartha | Jade - Heather Graham | Tracy Garner - Sasha Barrese | Mr. Chow - Ken Jeong | Mike Tyson - Mike Tyson

The crew: Director – Todd Phillips | Writers – Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

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Rated 2/5 on Jun 22 2009
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→ No Comments · 26,424 ViewsTags: "Guy" Films · Comedy · Movies · USA

How to rob a bank (2007) UnRated 81min


June 15th, 2009 by Maxim · No Comments · 27,626 Views

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How to rob a bank (2007) DVDThe plot: Jinx (Nick Stahl – Sleepwalking, Sin City, Terminator 3), a slacker who walks into a branch of  a bank to withdraw $20, and an employee of the branch/babe, Jessica (Erika Christensen – Garden of Eden, Flightplan, The Upside of Anger), accidentally get mixed up in a on-going bank robbery and gets stuck in the vault, which gives him a chip in the game of negotiating with police and the bad guys with guns.

The good:

  1. The Jinx character is so silly and clueless, he messes things up for everyone – police and the bad guys. Even though the story and script are pretty low-grade, the situational comedy is quite funny with many LOL moments. Many funny dialogs. Some of them were funny because they were so stupid.
  2. The moment I heard it, I was 100% certain – the voice of Nick, the mastermind of the heist, belonged to late David Carradine. He appears on screen for 5 seconds in the end of the movie. But his voice alone is more prominent then all the acting combined in this movie.
  3. This movie will appeal to Friday night crowds and everyone who is upset about “miscellaneous fees and surcharges” that banks and cell phone companies nickel-and-dime their customers for billions of dollars.

The bad:

  1. Low quality script and story
  2. Bad acting
  3. Once again, the leader of the bad guys had to be British. But all of British sophistication is not match for blunt American arrogance. Oh well. This stereotype is not worse then any other.

Memorable quotes:

Simon: [to Gunman] Just go pretend to guard the guard!

Officer DeGepse: What’s the situation?
Jason ‘Jinx’ Taylor: I don’t know. We’re fine… unless you count being locked in a vault with armed assholes outside of the door.
Officer DeGepse: Excuse me?
Jason ‘Jinx’ Taylor: No, no… not you people.
Officer DeGepse: Excuse me?
Jason ‘Jinx’ Taylor: Oh god. Tell me you’re not black or something. I didn’t mean to…
Officer DeGepse: Yep. I’m black. You got it.

Officer DeGepse: I need to know if you’re still safe and secure.
Jason ‘Jinx’ Taylor: You can say I’m safe.
Officer DeGepse: Now outline the situation, please.
Jason ‘Jinx’ Taylor: I’m safe because I’m in the safe.
Officer DeGepse: [annoyed] I got the joke, sir.

The credits: Writer/Director – Andrews Jenkins | Jinx - Nick Stahl | Jessica – Erika Christensen | Simon – Gavin Rossdale (Terminator 3, xXx, The Jackal, Constantine) | Officer DeGepse - Terry Crews (Get Smart, Street Kings, Norbit, Click, Starsky & Hutch etc.) | Nick – David Carradine | Gunman – Leo Fitzpatrick | Producers – Randy Delano, Tamara Delano, Kyle Dean Jackson, Rick Lashbrook, Brent Morris, Tim O’Hair, Darby Parker, Arthur M. Sarkissian, Peter Sussman | Original Music – Didier Rachou | Cinematography – Joe Meade

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Rated 3/5 on Jun 15 2009
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→ No Comments · 27,626 ViewsTags: Comedy · Crime/Gangster · Movies · USA

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009) R 106min


June 13th, 2009 by Maxim · No Comments · 223 Views

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The plot: A New York subway dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) is summonned on the radio. He is told by the mastermind of the hijacking (John Travolta) of the Pelham 1 2 3 train to follow his orders: to demand 10,000,000 dollars ransom from the mayor of New York (James Gandolfini) in exchange for lives of the hostages in the train. With the help of NYPD hostage negotiator Camonetti (John Turturro), Garber tries to outwit the hijackers, who, even if they get the cash, should seemigly be unable to escape.

The good: Great acting. Denzel Washington at his best in this dramatic role of a ordinary guy cought in unordinary circumstances. Great chemistry between his and Travolta’s character, and together they elevate this movie from an ordinary flick to a level of an interesting movie. A lot of suspense in the movie, which stems from three motifs usual for the genre – doing someting before time runs out, not knowing what’s awaiting around the corner and having to chose who lives and who dies. James Gandolfini played a colorful mayor. Good music. Great cinematography, perhaps too good for this movie.

The bad: The plot is pretty linear. There were several moments in the movie where I really expected some sort of a twist, but apparently in vane. I expected something like “Inside Man”. Other hijackers are not really characters – they are pawns, soldiers without a face. One of the great moments in the movie was wasted when Ryder (Travolta) forces Garber to publicly admit to taking a bribe – all this build-up in character and chemistry doesn’t go anywhere – the movie simply switches to car crashes and chases. There are also a lot of potential connections hinted at throughout the movie, such as connections to Wall Street, mayor, some prisoners - but they don’t matter much in the end. The ending could not be more linear. **Spoiler** in the original, Ryder was British… No matter. The point about the ending I wanted to make was that original ending was better in that Garber doesn’t have to kill Ryder – he remains without blood on his hands.

The summary: This contemporary remake of 1973 thriller is quite entertaining and will look good in theatres and on DVD.

Memorable quotes:

Garber: Are you a Yankee fan?
Mayor: No… I mean, of course!

Cop to Garber: Stay cool and don’t worry. Just don’t fuck up.

Cast: Walter Garber - Denzel Washington | Ryder - John Travolta | Phil Ramos - Luis Guzmán | Bashkim - Victor Gojcaj | Camonetti – John Turturro | Mayor – James Gandolfini | John Johnson – Michael Rispoli | Delgado – Ramon Rodriguez | Regina – Tonye Patano | Therese (Garber’s Wife) – Aunjanue Ellis

Crew: Director – Tony Scott | Screenplay – Brian Helgeland | Novel – John Godey | Producers – Richard Baratta, Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Michael Costigan, Don Ferrarone, Tony Scott, Steve Tisch, Barry H. Waldman, John Wildermuth Jr. | Original Music – Harry Gregson-Williams | Cinematography – Tobias A. Schliessler

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Rated 4/5 on Jun 13 2009
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→ No Comments · 223 ViewsTags: Drama · Movies · Thrillers/Suspense · USA