Saturday, June 25, 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence

First I had to find out that Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad were never a couple in real life and now I just found out that Tay-Tay aka Taylor Swift broke up with Calvin Harris over the phone for a British dude! What is happening to my world?!? What's next, are you going to tell me that BeyoncĂ©'s real life baby daddy is Vic Damone Jr.? (that's a Money Talks reference btw) Ok, so I must admit that I've never actually heard a Taylor Swift song from beginning to end but seeing as how I've finally reached the tender age of 76 and am still single, it doesn't appear that things are getting any better in the dating world.

I feel even worse now about my situation after seeing the money grab that is Independence Day: Resurgence. Some of my favorite stars literally looked like they were near death in this movie. Former president Whitmore (Bill Pullman) was viewed as a crazy kook with a Just for Men beard who had to use a cane to even walk around, Robert Loggia (Big) actually looked like the corpse from Weekend at Bernie's as his wife literally had to stand him up when his name was called during a random ceremony, and the only appearance Will Smith made was in the form of this grand self portrait of a dead man that hung on the President's wall! Sheesh! Someone please take me now before I find myself masturbating to Blanche in reruns of the Golden Girls!

Well if you think dating is hard, you should try sitting through 2 hours of this fiasco otherwise known as the sequel to Independence Day. The only thing I really remember from the first one is that everyone in the theater started clapping, crying, and cheering after Bill Pullman's big speech at the end; well that and my buddy standing up and yelling "Grab the beer!" when Vivica Fox was walking through the wasteland that used to New York or D.C. at the time. Other than that it was a fairly simple plot involving aliens trying to destroy Earth for fuel and us not wanting to die so we counterattacked them by using Windows 98 to hack into their advanced technology!

Well not much has changed in part 2; it's more of the same except now we have a lamer version of Will Smith saying corny things just before he attacks aliens and Jeff Goldblum is by far the coolest character in the movie. And yes when I say Goldblum, I'm referring to the dude! All of director Roland Emmerich's films are full of insufferable dialogue (or as my idiot friend calls it Emmerich's limericks) but at least he sort of rewards you for sitting through it with some great destruction set pieces. Well the awful dialogue is certainly there but none the over the top destruction.

In the end all you get is one of the worst films to ever grace the movie theater and keep in mind that I sat through all of the Transformers movies. I have nothing more to say about this waste of a movie and I give it a rating of unbelievably WACK!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Central Intelligence

If you haven't done so yet, do yourself a favor and check out the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on O.J. Simpson. It's nothing like the cheesy Hollywood version of the story that came out on AMC or whatever with John Ravolta and Chill Factor's Cuba Gooding Jr.; this is actually brilliant filmmaking that made me feel sad, joyous, ashamed, and pessimistic all at the same time. It's such a surreal story that I still can't believe it's true even though I actually lived through it as it was happening. But after 7 1/2 hours of this depressing and in depth look into our society and having reoccurring nightmares of O.J. popping out of my closet and killing me, I thought it was high time I saw some Black people who were actually on the right side of the law! So I broke down and saw the new Duane Johnson and Kevin Hart action comedy called Central Intelligence.

As I walked into the theater I thought to myself not only was O.J. killing me in my dreams but he was also killing my dreams of their ever being another good movie where black people were the main characters. And as I saw the previews for the new Tyler Perry movie where Madea takes on zombies, I literally almost stood up in the theater and yelled "Take me now O.J.! You win! I give up!" His heinous actions indirectly forced me into seeing a film I swore I'd never pay money to see.

But when it was all said and done, I found myself looking up the address to the Nevada State Penitentiary so I could write him a nice thank you note and possibly send him a lovely fruit basket to boot. This movie is far from original as it follows the buddy cop film formula to a tee! But what helps it stand out is the unexpected and amazing chemistry the Rock and Hart have on screen.

We've all seen the hysterical clip of a fat Rock sing En Vogue's Never Gonna Get It in the shower, and if you were being honest with yourself, you just had to think that it was possibly going to be film's only funny moment given the recent trend of comedy failures these days. But I'm pleased to say that it wasn't. The Rock was clearly a dork in high school and Hart was the cool kid that everyone loved. Their two paths crossed one day after Hart was the only one to step up and show a random act of kindness to the helpless and overly embarrassed Rock after he was thrown into the middle of a high school assembly completely naked. An act that he apparently has never forgotten as he decides to reach out to Hart just before their 20 year reunion to invite him out for a drink so that he can properly thank him.

Well after 20 years the Rock not only lost a ton of weight but he looks like a real life Hercules with his muscular and intimidating body frame. But the funny thing is, he's still kind of a dork as he wears unicorn shirts, jorts, and fanny packs and still says things like "What whaaaaat!" The director does an excellent job of playing up the size difference between the two actors to gain cheap laughs and the Rock's performance is genuine enough to where you kind of believe that he actually does still find those awful "wassuuuup" commercials to be funny.

The way Hart and the Rock feed off of one another is reminiscent of Jackie Chan's and Chris Tucker's relationship in Rush Hour as it seems like the Rock is from another country or even another planet at times with his cagy CIA skills. And while the story follows the lead of its predecessors, there's still enough double crosses and twists and turns in it to keep you interested.

So all in all I'd have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself while watching this film and I must give it a rating of pretty FRESH! And here's to hoping that O.J. gets an early release fairly soon just so he can go out and mess up again with the hopes that his misfortune will once again inspire me to see a low budget comedy film.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Now You See Me 2

I used to work with this nice but super nerdy (and not in a good way) woman from the Midwest. She was tall, told terrible jokes, and lived for things like drinking virgin mead during the annual Renaissance Festival. Now don't think I'm going to come down too hard on her because I too am tall and happen to tell terrible jokes; but the last thing you'll ever see is me daydreaming about becoming Martin Lawrence's character in the Black Knight! That was one of the most ill conceived ideas ever brought to life on film! Although I must admit that reenacting scenes from Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness while wearing a Dez Bryant jersey and throwing up the X before battle would be pretty tight!

Well the reason I bring this nerdy woman up is because she also happened to think that magicians were cool and sexy and that magic was something that was actually real. She honestly believed that the film Now You See Me was a solid confirmation of her wacky beliefs. And who knows, maybe she's right, how else do you explain David Blaine and David Copperfield bagging hot models? Maybe Andre from The League was right too; if I start doing card tricks in bars and referring to all women as "My lady' I could stop trolling for girls who are only looking for green cards and finally find a woman who doesn't mistake me for L.L. Cool J."Mi gusta Kangols!" I may or may not have actually taken advantage of this in the past but moving on...

Now You Can See Me was total cheese but at the same time it was mildly entertaining. I have no idea why they decided to make a part two or why they thought replacing Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers) with Lizzy Caplan would push them over the top but they did. Don't get me wrong, I actually like Caplan and think she's a funny actress but man the writers didn't do her any favors in this film. She was supposed to be this snappy and sassy addition to the team but every joke or "cool" thing she said simply fell flat and made her come off as the girl who was simply trying too hard; so basically she was the Lebron James of magic (no I still don't like him).

And Woody Harrelson had made a return to greatness with his roles in True Detective and Zombieland but boy did he ever fall off hard with this performance. He basically resorted to making awful dad jokes the entire film in a desperate attempt to stand out amongst his peers. And no I don't mean he was telling jokes about fathers, I mean he sounded like your out of touch dad who tries to impress your friends with his corny jokes when they come over. This combined with the fact he and Caplan were on screen together for the majority of the film made for some pretty excruciating cinema!

I won't even attempt to describe the convoluted plot. You should just know that everyone is in on everything and that everyone has their own angle while at the same time apparently being smarter than everyone else. Clear as mud? Good! That sentence was intentionally bad to reflect how awful the plot was. Also the inexplicable hero moments that the film Inception makes fun of is predominant all throughout this movie. I cannot tell you how many times I buried my head in my hands after yet another lame scene. This is about as popcorn of a flick as you can get. Even the unintentional yet intentional funny inclusion of Woody Harrelson's twin brother couldn't save this film. Yes, there are two of them and yes they both tell lame dad jokes. One even has a toupee that looks like a collection of Hugh Hefner's pubic hair that he gives to each playmate of the month as a nice parting gift when they make their way to the closest clinic.

I rate this movie as WACK and suggest that you avoid it all costs!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Conjuring 2

Remember back in the day when your crazy aunt or uncle would always tell you these wild ghost stories from the past? There'd always be some kooky old lady who lived by herself called Grandma Death whose house was so cursed that every time you tried to roller skate by it, you'd fall flat on your face. Or there'd be a horny ghost woman who would only appear at night to hover over your bed and give you the best head of your life! Man those were the days. Ok ok, so Grandma Death is from Donnie Darko, the tripping in front of some mean old lady's house is from the Cosby Show, and the ghost of Blow Job Betty is from Ghostbusters 1 but you get the point.

No one tells cool ghost stories anymore and I am 100% certain that this is why the horror movie genre will soon fade away like NFL football. It's all the same story now; every horror film has some house that's haunted by a ghost whose family was brutally murdered 30 years earlier or there's some creepy doll in the house that's wreaking havoc. Why don't these families simply move or just ship the doll off to some cousin of theirs that they hate? Movie over.

Well having said that, it's a little weird to me that the best horror film to come out in the past 5 years just so happened to center around a demon possessed doll called Annabelle in the original Conjuring. But I guess if you only have stale material to work with, you may as well make the best film you can make with it. James Wan (Insidious, Furious 7) is clearly a horror movie buff as he utilizes all of the tricks from the genre's past to help bring back the feelings of genuine fear and suspense that's sorely lacking from the modern day horror experience. Most films today strictly rely on gore or uninspired 80's nostalgia to stand out amongst their peers, and while I am a fan of gore, there should still be a somewhat intriguing storyline to accompany it.

Well in The Conjuring 2, Wan thankfully gives us a break from the norm as we once again follow the dangerous expeditions of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Now of course they are still dealing with demon possession but what else do you expect from a movie called The Conjuring. This time we follow them all the way to England just after they have sworn off taking another case due to the brutality of the Amityville Murders. Lorraine saw something in her visions there that led her to believe her family would soon be affected by their timely interventions of the diabolical schemes of these demons.

But once they see this desperate and down on their luck family of five, they can't help but get involved in spite of all the doubt that surrounds their particular circumstance. Young Janet (a Natalie Portman lookalike in this film) has been possessed by the spirit of an old man who used to live in their house and apparently wants it back. So he terrifies the entire family by moving objects or people in ways they shouldn't in an attempt to scare them away. But what's different about this spirit is he doesn't just wait until nightfall to cause chaos, he does it during the daytime as well. And things seem to get worse as more and more attention is brought to his presence; he not only speaks through Janet but also begins to control her actions. But in spite of all of this, there were still skeptics who believed that this was simply a hoax. Is this just a highly imaginative girl who is seeking out attention because her father left or is there something more sinister going on than we can actually see?

Through the use of mood music, dark enclosed spaces, and the dreariness of England's weather, Wan is able to keep you on the edge of your seat without resorting to the use of tired tricks like jump out gags or silly CGI. There are a few scenes where he has to rely on it to help bring The Crooked Man to life, in a spot where things could have gone horribly wrong and completely killed the movie, but his directing prowess helps him get through the challenges of making the supernatural not look cheesy.

And it's this combined with his ability to get the most out of his actors that makes this film rather enjoyable. Conjuring 2 isn't the scariest film I've ever seen but it did have me saying a prayer or two during the middle of it. And any film that makes me do that gets a rating of FRESH from me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

So I’ve seen not one but two to three different Beyonce’ singalong options pop up at the Alamo Drafthouse in the past month alone! And just in case you’ve never been to or heard of Austin, TX before, the Drafthouse is an anomalous movie theater chain that allows you the opportunity to eat full meals and drink adult beverages during their shows. They also put on special events like these so that gay men and fangirls alike can come together in one place and safely celebrate their love for divas, prosecco, and Marky Mark.

Well the reason I bring this up is if they had this kind of stuff around back when boy bands were actually cool then I would've been there for every single Bell Biv Devoe and Another Bad Creation singalong that was available. Now I would’ve also included Boys II Men in this list but looking back those dudes were never cool. The coolest thing they ever did was have Lisa Bonet’ and the black girl from Saved by the Bell in the same video together. And while that is unbelievably fresh, none of them had the game that was required to tag either one of those beauties even with all of their money and fame. But moving on, who wouldn’t want to sing Poison and Iesha at the top of their lungs while eating chili dogs and drinking mimosas? And yes I intentionally made that sound as gay as humanely possible because no matter how manly I try and make this alternative to a Beyonce’ singalong sound, it’s still extremely odd and creepy for a straight male to want to go to a dark theater and sing songs written by 12 year old boys.

But anyway, Andy Samberg made a name for himself on SNL by spoofing these cheesy boybands and the ridiculously over the top hip hop videos that had for whatever reason become the norm at the time. I’m on a Boat has become something of a legend at this point and his video with Natalie Portman made me want to instantly propose to her or the closest look-alike of hers I could find in the mosh pit of a Blink 182 concert (I assume that’s the kind of music she likes). I could never get enough of those silly skits of his and this is why I found myself a little excited about his latest movie Popstar.

Well the first 20-30 minutes of it certainly delivered as you had Samberg in full on popstar mode with his Kanye esque attitude and his absurd lyrics about donkey dances and ball licking. And what nearly had me in tears was his song Do it to Me Like Bin Laden in which the song ended with him saying "you told me to terrorize that pu$$y". That crown jewel of a line alone made me feel as though I had already received my monies worth but there was this fear that was starting to creep in that there wasn’t going to be much else to the film. Was it simply going to be 90 minutes of SNL skits? Thankfully no!

Samberg actually takes you through the rise and fall of a pop icon who initially gained his stardom from being a part of the influential hip hop group The Style Boyz; which included two other white guys, Jorma Taccone (the DJ) and Akiva Schaffer (the lyricist). Well just like Beyonce’, his star shined a little bit brighter than that of his mates, so he broke off and saw instant success with the release of his first album. But once the success got to his head, he made a series of mistakes that ultimately led to his downfall.

Thankfully though these mistakes were displayed in the most hilarious way possible. Samberg smartly and somewhat discretely pokes fun at some of the game’s biggest stars as well as some of their past failures. There’s the fact that he has an enormous entourage that consists entirely of yes men, which of course leads to some quality interactions (MC Hammer). He also resorts to odd gimmicks to try and boost his popularity like having his DJ wear a giant cube on his head that sounds like a foghorn (Deadmau5, Garth Brooks-Chris Gaines, and alternative Sheryl Crow). And then he releases a completely irrelevant song about gay marriage while at the same time trying his hardest to convince everyone how straight he is in his video. I think you’re smart enough to figure out who he’s making a reference to there.

All in all I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable film and it certainly was a more than suitable alternative to seeing Teenage Mutant Ninja Scrubs. I give Popstar a rating of FRESH!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllll no! There was absolutely no way Michael Bay was going to trick me into seeing Out of the Shadows. As a matter of fact, I wish that shadow demon in Game of Thrones took him out instead of that random scrub in the tent. With this latest release he has now surpassed Uwe Bol as the worst director/producer in the history of Hollywood purely based off the volume of crap he puts out on a yearly basis. I would rather watch Tommy Lee Jones struggling to pee in the morning than another one of his films.

He wasn't satisfied with just ruining the Transformers and Will Smith (Bad Boys 2) from my childhood, he also had to penetrate what had become a ritual on the weekends in my household; eating pizza and playing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle video game. And yes I use the word penetrate because he forcefully entered my tender memories and crushed them with that size 12 Beavis and Butthead cranium on his shoulders.

I actually met some scrub two years ago who came up to me and said "I actually loved the Ninja Turtle movie and anyone he didn't like it is a hater!" Well all I have to say to him is, you're the reason why they made nine, yes NINE Ernest movies!!

And you're also the reason why Tyler Perry has set Black people back 20 years with his awful movies! Please move to the border towns of Mexico asap!

I rate this movie as unbelievably WACK!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Let me first clear up what has apparently become an age old misconception about Black people and our interactions with the sun; yes we actually can get sunburned! I cannot tell you how many people look at me like I’m the Cheshire Cat whenever I reveal this obvious fact to them. "No way! You’re lying!" Nope, I hate to break it to you but Black people just so happen to share all of the normal characteristics every other human being does in the animal kingdom and that includes having an outer protective layer for our bodies called skin.

This is why you never see us "laying out", we’re already dark enough as it is; and the last time we went to the beach we ended up in America! I however am in the minority (which I guess makes me a double minority???) when it comes to this as I absolutely love going to the beach. Even when my body shape made me look like I was Tweedledee and Tweedledum, I was still out there for the simple fact that I love the ocean.

What fascinates me is when someone like the beautiful Anne Hathaway manages to stay as pale as she does given all of the time she’s had to have spent lying in the sun! Hasn’t she seen the movie Soul Man starring C. Thomas Howell? Can’t she just spray paint herself a little darker? Well in Alice Through the Looking Glass, they somehow managed to make her look even more pale than she already is. I honestly thought she was dead for most of the movie; that was until she started talking. And whenever she just so happened to walk into a white background, all I could see was this random set of lips moving. It was like they gave the Cheshire Cat a girlfriend!

Anyway, I remember loving Alice in Wonderland as a kid and even somewhat enjoying the new one with Johnny Depp when it came out a few years ago, but I also remember how forgettable of a film Through the Looking Glass was. Well suffice it to say that the new version is almost as bad.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually liked this movie but three months from now I will have forgotten that it was even made, much less be able to tell you anything that happened in it. There are a few cool moments when Alice (Mia Wasikowska) travels back in time in an attempt to help save The Mad Hatter’s (Depp) family. And along the way, you do get some interesting background information on the characters you’ve come to love or hate for years, but ultimately way too much time is spent on showing the actual act of time traveling itself. This could have been cool but sadly it just wound it being a CGI disaster as you really couldn’t tell what was going on while they were traveling and even a 5 year old child would’ve been able to break down the inconsistencies in the "technology" of it.

For whatever reason they tried to turn Alice into Jack Sparrow in the opening sequences and I guess the producers didn’t get the memo that Borat came out a long time ago. No one alive today still believes that Sasha Baron Cohen is actually funny. I don’t know, maybe the studios thought that they could at the very least break even on this film given the success of the first one, but if you going to bring back such a talented cast, shouldn’t you have given them a director that could help bring out their best and allow them to shine?

I rate this movie as kind of WEAK but it’s certainly worth a watch if you’re bored.