Movie Review: Blood Simple

by Ryan

Rating:

Ryan: B-

Matthew Kerwin: C +


Released in 1985, Blood Simple is the debut film for writing/directing duo, Joel and Ethan Coen. A rich honky tonk owner, Dan Hedaya, hires a hitman to kill his cheating wife, Frances McDormand, and her new love interest, John Getz. Things get complicated when the hit man, M. Emmet Walsh, decides a different course of events.

Given that this was the first film from the Coen’s some leeway has been given here. The whole movie feels like a bad 80’s Lifetime movie, lets say lighting wasn’t a strong suit. The title cards too had 80’s written all over them (If you couldn’t tell from the cover). For the most part, acting was sub par as well, especially from M. Emmet Walsh who plays an over weight chain-smoking hit man who can’t seem to stop laughing.

Francis McDormand does surprisingly well in her first acting nod, showing signs of her later Oscar caliber credentials. As you would expect from the Coen’s the writing was strong and actually made the film worth watching. There were also lots of cool shots that you would see repeated later in movies like Fargo and No Country for Old Men.

What most of this film felt like was a trial run for later films. Wading through most of the sub par minutia there are glimpses of brilliance that the brothers would later bring in for later films. Also, this movie gets better as it goes along, which shows that the duo are quick learners.

I wouldn’t go into this film expecting the traditional Coen brothers experience. This film is best summed up as a trial run, a movie worth watching for perspective on the Coen’s.

In un-related news, I came across a blog from a friend of mine that everyone should check out: duhleah.livejournal.com . She offers her thoughts on all sorts of things, so when you’re done here check it out!

This also reminds me, we want to know what your favorite movies are! Comment on this post or really anywhere on our sight or on facebook and let us know what your favorite movie is!

Movie Review: Toy Story 3

Rating:

Matthew Frazier: A

Matthew Kerwin: A

Ryan: A-

By Matthew Frazier
We’ve seen our favorite characters from “Toy Story” defy all challenges they face, but can they escape the hand that feeds them once children go wild?

15 years ago the silver screen depicted a close-knit group of toys and their shenanigans. Fast forward to the present day, and those same toys (along with new friends found along the trilogy) are escaping some predicament.

“Toy Story 3” is the final installment in the “Toy Story” franchise, and concludes the story of Andy, a former toy enthusiast preparing for the journey to college. In the chaos of packing, a bag full of audience favorites are nearly thrown into the garbage; naturally, the only place to take refuge from such cruel treatment is a day care.

As most of us know (especially those who may have taught 4 and 5-year-olds like me), children can be loud, energetic and… not exactly careful with their toys. Needless to say, the film features a few scenes of toy abuse.

Without giving too much away for those who have yet to see, “Toy Story 3” is one of the best concluding films I have seen in quite some time. Littered with emotional moments that make you remember those simpler times of the play pin, the movie had the entire audience collectively “Aww”-ing and bawling. And yes, I’ll admit it, I teared up.

Do yourself a favor, movie fans. Treat yourself and salute the toys many of us grew up with and go see “Toy Story 3!”

Movie Review: Get Him To The Greek

Rating: B-

By Ryan

This is merely a follow up to our post from a few weeks back, which you can find below. Skip ahead to read a full review done by fellow writer Jason.

When I first saw a preview for this movie I couldn’t help but as myself why? You could tell it was either a follow up or a knock off of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and you could tell this might have been a bad idea.

Get Him to the Greek is another product of the Judd Apatow machine, and this is apparent from the onset. While not on the level of some of his better stuff like Superbad, Pineapple Express, or  Anchorman, this movie is a definite step up from his more recent Funny People and Year One.

As you might have taken from the previews, most of the movie takes from The Hangover style of “What the hell happened last night?” Which makes for some of the more memorable scenes in the movie.

The movie does lagg in the middle, and unlike most people, I didn’t find P. Diddy to be all that funny. He was actually kinda odd, and slightly disturbing.

Anyway, walk don’t run to see this movie. Pick it up for rental, look for it on Netflix in a few months. It is definitely worth a watch, if you need something to do one night, head down to the metroplex. Continue reading on to see a fantastic review from Jason!

Rating: B+

By Jason

After a disappointing Saturday night out to see the travesty that is Splice, I needed something fun and ridiculous to even me out so the very next evening, I was off to see Get Him to the Greek.

When I first heard that Russell Brand and Jonah Hill were going to do a spin-off of their characters from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I was a bit skeptical, thinking it might be doomed for the 5 dollar DVD bin at Wal-Mart in six months. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Kudos to writer/director Nicholas Stoller for doing this spin-off so tastefully.

It must be noted that although Russell Brand’s character, Aldous Snow, is very much the same as he was in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jonah Hill’s is not. Trust me, this is a good thing. I’m not sure I could sit through an hour of a half of creepy, almost homosexual fandom of Jonah Hill’s character from FSM. Stoller wrote him to be much more professional, likeable, and overall normal in this movie.

The plot is pretty solid in this one. Taking the dynamic duo from London, to New York, Las Vegas, and LA, all the while getting into some incredibly funny scenarios along the way. A lot like The Hangover and Superbad, format of the movie is similar in the sense that every new scene is just as ridiculous and funny as the last.

Notable supporting characters are P. Diddy, who, arguably has some of the best lines in the movie, and Elisabeth Moss, who plays Jonah Hill’s girlfriend. Something about her character is very cute and very funny. She and Jonah Hill seemed to me to have great chemistry. And I also have to mention a HILARIOUS Mars Volta reference, which I thought was one of the funniest parts of the movie.

Overall, if you liked the characters in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, chances are, you’ll like this one too.

Movie Review: Splice

Matt: D-

Travis: C

Ryan: D

Jason: F

By Jason

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, it struck me as something that had great potential, an interesting looking sci-fi thriller that could have been on par with Roger Donaldson’s, Species. Curiosity got the better of me and I ended up wasting two hours of my life on what I would call Adrian Brody’s darkest hour.

It’s difficult for me to describe what it was about this movie that made me hate it so much without ruining the ending for you. But I’ll do my very best.

The movie is about a pair of scientists who specialize in genetics and mutations who work for a pharmaceutical company. They end up getting carried away and splice together an odd assortment of animals (they never actually specify which ones…. That pissed me off) with human DNA… needless to say, a big no no. The result is a mostly human creature with two sets of knees, and a tail with a venomous stinger on it.

One of the main problems in this movie, aside from a terrible plot, is the characters. You really can’t root for either Adrian Brody or his counterpart, Sara Polley simply because they’re both so damn annoying, particularly Sara Polley. If I was to sum up her character in one phrase it would be, “Bitch who doesn’t listen.”

In what was supposed to be a very serious, important turn of events in the movie, I found myself in a theater full of people laughing AT, not with but AT the movie. Surely this movie was screened to a test audience and the same thing must have happened. Why was this not changed???

This movie is bad. One of the worst I’ve seen in a long time. The plot continuously turns in the wrong direction leaving the viewer with this feeling of, “What the hell? That’s where they went with that? Are you serious?” Don’t waste your time or the money.

Top 5 Sports Documentaries

I was going to do my Top 5 Documentaries list when I realized that with the exception of one (Deliver Us from Evil), my Top 5 were all sports docs. The reason for this being that there is no art of film making more pure than the documentary, and no art of humanity more pure than sport.

5. Go Tigers!
Cameras follow the three captains of the Massillon Tigers High School football team through 1999 football season in a town whose reputation rests on these teenage athletes. The doc tells the stories of how far a town is willing to go for its teams, using at times some unethical means. This is definitely recommended viewing for fans of Friday Night Lights.

4. Broad Street Bullies
Old Time Hockey. Three words have never sounded so sweet. BSB is the story of the Philadelphia Flyers teams in the mid 1970s that used grit, tenacity, and just a little bit of goal scoring to win two consecutive Stanley Cup titles.

3. Hoop Dreams
This 1995 documentary follows two inner city basketball players from Chicago as they go through high school and college in their attempts to go pro in the sport they love.

2. Bigger Stronger Faster
In one of the more controversial sports documentaries around, BSF takes a look at steroids and their effect on society. The doc gets a little abstract at times, almost taking a pro-steroids stance as the merits and faults of the issue are discussed.

1. Murderball
This is one of the most emotional films I’ve seen in a long time; MB is the story of the players of the United States Wheelchair Rugby Team and their journey to the Paralympic Games. It chronicles the lives and hardships of the players and what they have done to overcome their obstacles and compete in the brutal sport.

My 50 Cents on 50 Cent

By Matthew Frazier

50 Cent is a rapper who has been shot nine times, is a co-founder of group G-Unit, and now… is potentially skinnier than I am?

The once muscular 50 recently took to his Twitter to post pictures of him looking dramatically leaner, all in the name of a movie role. His dedication in losing weight, which he achieved through an all-liquid diet in addition to a treadmill walk three times a day, is a testament to his new devotion to acting.

Although he has seen success through his popular albums, 50 is joining a league of actors such as Tom Hanks (Philadelphia), Renee Zelwegger (Bridget Jones’ Diary) and Matt Damon (Courage Under Fire) who have purposefully undergone weight transformations to bring their character to life.

In 50’s case, he dropped down to a skeletal weight for the film “Things Fall Apart,” in order to portray a Heisman trophy hopeful who is stricken with cancer at the peak of his career, according to MTV News.

Surprisingly, this is not 50’s first time of the big screen and is certainly not his last. He is popularly known for “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” a film based loosely off his debut album. While some might not take a rapper-turned-actor seriously in movie roles, “Things Fall Apart” boasts an all star cast including Mario Van Peebles, Ray Liotta and Lynn Whitfield.

A quick scan of 50’s IMDB page notes his seven upcoming film projects, most of which involved notable actors co-starring: the upcoming “13” also features Mickey Rourke.