Sunday, February 28, 2010

Possible Upcoming HBO Series: A Game of Thrones

Based on the bestselling fantasy books by George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones is an intensely intricate series set in an imaginary, swords-and-dungeons-type of world and encompasses everything from politics to mysticism. I've been a huge fan of the series for years and highly suggest the books to everyone, even if you dislike the genre.

Word came out yesterday on the fan blog, Winter is Coming, that it looks as though HBO has green-lit the series after having watched the pilot, though official word has not been announced yet. The massive ensemble cast includes Peter Dinklage, Sean Bean, and Lena Headey in pivotal roles with several other notable British actors. The intent is to film seven seasons, with each season encompassing one book.

Here's hoping 2011 will force me to order HBO service!

You can also follow George R.R. Martin's blog (and intermittent progress of the next book in the series) here.

Jack Burton's Status of the First Two Months of 2010!

It's all in the reflexes.

Oh Boy. How the hell am I supposed to hit 150? I'm not even on pace to hit 100! At least I just got a full time job, so I shouldn't really have any money problems with these tickets... and boy, let me tell you, reading over the cost breakdown is painful shit. I've really gotta buckle down and keep plugging away. I'm not doing as bad as Hombre Lobo's sub-ten total though...


Black Dynamite: $23.00
Sherlock Holmes: $18.25
Daybreakers: $0.00
Youth in Revolt: $16.25
The Lovely Bones: $16.25
Legion: $13.00
To Save a Life: $15.50


Tooth Fairy: $10.00
Wolfman: $22.00
From Paris With Love: $10.00
Shutter Island: $16.00
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief: $4.00
The Crazies: $15.00
Cop Out: $21.00

What a fucked up year. About 8.5 weeks in, I should have seen around 24.5 movies to be on pace, but I'm at 14. I've spent about $200.25.

Best Movie: Shutter Island
Honorable Mention: Youth In Revolt

Cop Out: or, How to Not Make Good Cop Movies

A scene that's not as funny as you'd think.

This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.

Ok. I enjoyed Cop Out, all right? I did. At least that’s what I keep telling myself, in the same way that women tell men that size doesn’t matter. Repeat the mantra, and keep repeating it. Okay, fine, I didn’t like it. But I didn’t hate it either. I’m kind of ambivalent to the movie. I haven’t really been a Kevin Smith fan since he made his masterpiece, Dogma. His movies have kind of gone downhill (Jersey Girl, anyone? Anyone?), though Zack & Miri Make a Porno was decent and the trailers for Cop Out seemed to at least hit some of Smith’s high notes. But then, he didn’t write this, he directed it.

There’s definitely a stamp of Kevin Smith charm in the comedic timing between Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan, and it works well. They have a lot of chemistry, though believing that they’re actually partners is a bit of a large undertaking. They just don’t come off as authentic, but that may very well be the point. This isn’t a realistic cop film in a world of The Wire, CSI, and lord knows what else. This is (supposedly) a fun, comedic attempt at nostalgic, 80s, buddy-buddy cop movies. An homage, if you will. But the filmmakers rely too much on that gimmick and not enough on making a good movie. And there really are enough ingredients to make this a good movie.

First, Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis are fine in their roles as Paul and Jimmy respectively, though I think a stronger director could have gotten better performances from both. They’re funny, and as I mentioned earlier, they have plenty of chemistry. The rest of the film is about the pair, newly suspended (of course), trying to take down a Mexican drug kingpin in Brooklyn with a penchant for baseball memorabilia. This obsession with baseball leads to his acquiring a valuable baseball card which was stolen from Jimmy, who needs to sell it in order to pay for his daughter’s wedding. It’s a simple, generic plot, but with enough moving parts that could have really launched this one to greatness, like the incredibly underrated film, The Rundown, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Seann Williams Scott has a great guest appearance, as the trailers indicate. Jason Lee has an awesome cameo. The villain, Po’ Boy, played by Guillermo Diaz, has the makings of a timeless badass, but more often than not comes off as a joke. The background stories for Paul and Jimmy are both interesting and the types of themes that Smith really has a nice handle on. When the film focuses on those stories, everything seems to really work, but when it focuses on the cop stuff, it kind of stumbles along as though Smith doesn’t know what to do next. It’s patchwork at times. It almost seems like Smith was too busy staring at the details and not enough at the larger picture as he was putting this together. I will say that there are nice touches, such as the uber-80s-style music that appear at points in the movie. Very nice.

So in the end, Cop Out is a mediocre film that will probably be known more for its missed opportunities than its actual content. In our recession, I'll have to say skip it, don’t even rent it. It has no replay value, though there are some genuine laughs in it. Catch it on TV if you have nothing else to do. If you have money to burn, go ahead. I don't know; as I said, I enjoyed it. But I couldn't watch this again.

Cost breakdown:

21.00 for two tickets for me and my cousin, who drove.

I wish I had some kind of time machine shaped as a hot tub to tell myself not to bother. Till next time, Pork Chop Express is signing off!

Ol' Jack Burton Goes Crazy with Boredom from Watching THE CRAZIES

Olga Kurylenko has nothing to do with this movie, but she's really hot in Hitman with Timothy Olyphant.

This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.

Well, I’ll just get right to the point. Skip The Crazies. I don’t know why anyone would watch it, to be honest. Nothing in this waste of time is surprising, scary, or interesting. How it’s gotten such good reviews I’ll never know (71% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of this writing). I caught this travesty of a zombie/government conspiracy/ human devolution film on Thursday night at midnight with Hombre Lobo and Home Theater Hans. This was HTH’s pick of the night (over Cop Out), and he promptly fell into a post-happy hour slumber while watching it, though Hombre Lobo and I both agreed that this was his type of movie.

While the original 1973 film may have some redeeming qualities simply based on its social/historic context—I have no idea, I’ve never seen it—the remake really doesn’t explore anything new to modern audiences. The main protagonist, Sheriff David Dutton, played by Timothy Olyphant of Hitman and The Girl Next Door fame, confronts the threat of an unknown toxin turning his small town into an ultra-violent group of crazies. Along the way, the government goes overboard in their containment response and the Sheriff, his wife Judy (Radha Mitchell), his deputy Russell (Joe Anderson), and his wife’s assistant Becca (Danielle Panabaker, the hot best friend from Sky High) must find their way to safety while avoiding the infected townspeople and the military who kill with extreme prejudice. That’s it. No plot twists, no intimate portraits of human madness or heroics in the face of chaos as in The Mist, or even hokey b-movie-type developments that would at least make this thing entertaining. Nothing new, nothing interesting. Snore.

The performances are mostly as generic as they come, though Joe Anderson’s portrayal of Deputy Russell needs to be applauded. He’s given the meat of the character arc here. In every story, be it written or cinematic or whatever, the point is that a character changes, right? We need to see something interesting happen to them, some kind of revelation or epiphany or evolution/devolution. Something! But the Sheriff and his wife are static. They don’t particularly engage the audience and they’re not really pushed as far as they could be. Russell, however, does. He goes from aw-shucks Barney Fife, to a full-blown, shoot-first badass, to a man confronting his own mortality seamlessly. It feels natural and whenever he’s on the screen, it’s all about him—but not in a fancy, splashy way, his character is more subtle, and completely believable.

So that was the one shining point in the movie. The rest of the movie looks like stock, recycled footage, the scares are lame and elementary (and this is coming from a guy that scares incredibly easy), and frankly, I felt bad that George Romero’s name was anywhere on this piece. The military and government intervention parts didn’t resonate, nor were the crazies themselves particularly horrifying. They were, however, incredibly inconsistent in their portrayal. Some are full-blown nutsos who were completely brain-gone, some were sharp enough to sew peoples’ eyes and mouths closed. What the fuck?

So the cost breakdown:

11.00 on a ticket
4.00 on gas

15.00 wasted on an uneven, completely forgettable film. Till next time, Pork Chop Express is signing off.

Friday, February 26, 2010


As if there weren't enough phallic references with Harry Potter and his broom...

This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.

Sometimes, I sit back in my chair and listen to the stars blink and twitter away in the night sky and I wonder to myself: what would it be like to be Chris Columbus? You don’t need talent. You can kind of just sit around and think up cheesy ways to make films that appeal to kids. It doesn’t seem that difficult. He’s probably best known for directing the first two Harry Potter films, which, incidentally, I love. They’re not masterfully done, or particularly well acted, or even that good. But I really, really enjoy them. So here comes his latest film, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. That’s a hell of name. I shall heretofore refer to it as PJ&TO:TLT to make things easier for everyone.

PJ&TO:TLT is based on the book The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, the first book in the seven-book series, Percy Jackson & The Olympians. Upon its publication, it was automatically compared to Harry Potter. But really, what fantasy children’s novel (or series) nowadays won’t, on some level, be compared to that leviathan of publishing gold? It’s really not that difficult to write children/young adult tales, it seems. Add one part protagonist who has special abilities that make him a freak in the “real” world but someone “special” in the fantasy world; one part plucky companions; one part romance or threat thereof; one part conspiracy or evil plot. Stir well before publishing. Serves millions.

PJ&TO:TLT centers on Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), the teenage son of Poseidon, which makes him a demigod. As is the norm with these kinds of books, he doesn’t know he has his powers; instead he thinks he suffers from ADHD and dyslexia. He thinks he’s some kind of outcast, except for his best friend Grover Underwood (Brandon T. Jackson). Anyway, Zeus’ (Sean Bean) main lightning bolt has been stolen, and he suspects that Percy is behind it. He charges the boy with returning the bolt by the summer solstice, fourteen days away. So as it turns out, Grover has been living as Percy’s guardian since they were little, and fills him in about some of his background. Together, they join a camp of demigods called Camp Half-Blood, where they meet the daughter of Athena, Annabeth Chase (played by the uber-cute Alexandra Daddario) and learn how to be leaders and heroes in the real world. Before long, however, Hades kidnaps Percy’s mother in an attempt to force the boy to give him the bolt. Percy, Grover, and Annabeth take flight across the country to find a way to Hades to convince the god that Percy doesn’t have the bolt and retrieve his mother, all while imminent war is looming between Poseidon, Hades, and Zeus because of said missing bolt.

I didn’t understand that part of it. THE WORLD IS ABOUT TO END. GET THE BOLT BACK. Right? Anyone? I realize your mother is important, but c’mon. Wrap it together a little better, at least. The three teens don’t even seem to care that the world is about to come to a screeching halt. PJ&TO:TLT ultimately boils down to a road trip-type movie. That’s not bad, I just found it hard to swallow that they seem to ignore the need to find the bolt. The three are surrounded by an excellent ensemble cast, including a great Steve Coogan as Hades, an incredibly creepy, memorable Uma Thurman as Medusa, and a sexed-up version of Persephone by Rosario Dawson. It’s really quite remarkable how the older, veteran actors play up their parts perfectly.

The youngsters are, well, young. But they hold their own well enough, despite having very little to work with. This is the main problem with the film. They aren’t particularly interesting. Percy pretty much flips a switch and becomes the alpha-male leader right away. It’s not believable, and it’s not earned. Annabeth, who is introduced as a badass warrior, regresses into, well, kind of filler. I don’t know what she was doing there except to look pretty and be a love interest for Percy. Grover’s not bad as the sidekick with jokes. He honestly seems to care about his best friend, and that’s as much as I can really say about him.

After reading this review, you might think I disliked PJ&TO:TLT. I really didn’t. I enjoyed it, as I do many children’s and family films. It’s fun, it’s silly, and the modern-day versions of the Greek gods are awesome. I don’t know if I’ll buy it on Blu Ray, but I think I’m leaning toward it. It’s easy-to-digest, but to more “serious” moviegoers, I’d suggest skipping this one. I’ll probably wait till I see the sequel to really decide on purchasing it or not.

My cousin paid for my ticket so I only drove.

4.00 for gas.

Sign me up if we’re doing this again! Until next time, Pork Chop Express is signing off!


This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.

I was never a big fan of Martin Scorsese until I saw The Departed. Yes, I know, he did Goodfellas, Casino, Cape Fear, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and so on and so forth. I don’t know. I’ve always considered him an in-your-face director that would benefit from just stepping back and letting his work be a little more subtle. Then I saw The Departed and (grudgingly) loved it, despite its lack of subtlety. But even that enjoyment was tainted since it was a remake of the excellent Chinese film, Infernal Affairs. Regardless, I loved The Departed, and was somewhat disappointed with the early trailers for his latest film, Shutter Island. But I felt much the same about The Departed’s trailers. So I tried to go into this film with an open mind, but somewhere underneath it all, I was waiting for the other foot to drop, for me to absolutely hate this film. And I’m glad to say that this is absolutely not the case.

Shutter Island is an intense, suspenseful, and masterfully woven film about U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels’ (Leonardo DiCaprio) investigation into the disappearance of an inmate/patient on Shutter Island in a classic ‘locked room’ scenario. Accompanied by his new sidekick/partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), they question the inmates and staff of the island, headed by Dr. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley), and find that there’s much more to the island than they thought. The performances across the board are excellent, including an unforgettable, blink-and-you’ll-miss-him cameo by Jackie Earle Haley of Watchmen fame. He’s quickly putting together an impressive résumé of iconic performances, and I can’t wait to catch him as Freddie Kruger in the upcoming remake of Nightmare on Elm Street. DiCaprio handles his character’s emotional baggage exceptionally well, though I can’t help but wonder if he’ll ever put away that Boston accent. The weakest link is probably Mark Ruffalo, the always-likable chap, who really doesn’t have much to do here except play, well, a likable chap. The characters have a heft to them that is normally missing in these types of suspense films; they each have their own secrets and their own baggage and are incredibly multi-faceted, which I loved. Nobody’s really a stock, archetypal character.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, the writer of such books as Gone, Baby, Gone, and Mystic River. He also did a stint on the much-loved HBO series, The Wire. I didn’t realize that Shutter Island was created by a man with such an interesting and remarkable pedigree. The storytelling was so vivid and strong behind Shutter Island that it really wouldn’t surprise me if more of his works got turned into film. The plot is multi-layered and grounded in the investigation; as the investigation continues, Daniels confronts his past. In the hands of a lesser filmmaker, this would have been a jumbled mess. But Scorsese is, truly, a master. There, I said it. He juggles the back story pitch-perfect, and the flashbacks (done in haunting dream sequences) are never distracting. Instead, while on a completely different subject from the actual investigation, they add to the tension and raise the stakes of the film. From the start, the soundtrack and the acting nail you to your seat and rip you through the events, slowing down just enough to involve you on an emotional level that leaves you guessing and hoping against hope that things work out. Everything is connected, and by the end, the climactic scenes are satisfying and ultimately well-deserved from such a great film.

I caught the morning show last week for 6.00 and paid for my cousin as well.

12.00 on tickets
4.00 on gas

16.00? What a steal of a deal. Best film of 2010 so far. My next two reviews should be up shortly.

Sunday, February 21, 2010



Hombre Lobo and I have discussed many times the amazing era of Disney films from the 80s through the 90s; The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King... the list from that time period is as impressive as modern-day Pixar's run of films. Disney, it seems, has decided to release this pretty awesome looking documentary on that era and their journey back from the brink of irrelevance. I'm certainly looking forward to this one.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I thought they stopped making these movies in the early 90s


Really? It actually looks like a cross between the recent Dragonball movie and the original Street Fighter movie with JCVD. 2010 is looking brighter every day.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jack Burton Hates France Even More After Watching FROM PARIS WITH LOVE

Ah, l'amour.

This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.

Is anyone in this world not a Luc Besson fan? Isn’t he one of the greats, really? He’s been in pivotal roles in such films as Léon the Professional, the Fifth Element, Banlieue 13 (English title: District B-13), the Transporter series, the Taxi series, Nikita (English title: La Femme Nikita), and so on and so forth. He’s got that certain style and pizzazz that we all immediately recognize. And while there are several of his movies that I can’t stand, for the most part when his name is attached to a project, you know what you’re getting when you buy your ticket and you are usually in for a good time. I don’t know if he’s part of the upper echelon of movie makers such as Spielberg, Scorcese, Kubrick , and the like, but he can certainly be lumped in with Guillermo del Torro, John Carpenter (in his prime), the Coen brothers, and others.

That said, his latest producing and co-writing gig, From Paris with Love, is an uneven, silly, and at-times annoying film that is both immediately forgetful for its generic storyline, and memorable for its stupidity. The film’s director, Pierre Morel, directed the Transporter, Taken, and Banlieue 13—all highly enjoyable film, so imagine my shock when I watched From Paris with Love.

The story centers on James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a wannabe CIA agent who covers as a personal aide to the US ambassador to France. He spends his time doing pointless side jobs such as swapping license plates and affixing microchips in important-people’s offices. He’s highly intelligent, methodical, and more than a little high strung. Enter Charlie Wax (John Travolta), the agency’s finest agent. He’s a loudmouthed brute who doesn’t particularly care about rules, laws, or, well, doing anything by the book. Together they somehow go from tracking down a cocaine route and beating up Asian gangsters to stopping a terrorist attack. I think. I don’t really know when I got lost in following the plot. But it’s a Luc Besson film. Who cares that much about a plot? It’s about the characters being cool, fighting badasses, and nailing hot chicks. Wow, that sounds like a Michael Bay film, but somehow Besson’s take on this formula is always much more interesting.

Anyway, so the plot was a dud. Fine. No biggie. I can live with that. But it was the characters that really killed this for me. Reece and Wax are over-the-top in their respective roles as ‘the guy who needs to loosen up’ and ‘the badass opposite of the guy who needs to loosen up.’ They were both annoying as all get-out. Wax, as a foil for Reece, had absolutely no depth as a character. He curses, he kills, he doesn’t like to think—Travolta seemed to be having a good time but my god, please tone it down a little. Rhys Meyers’ Reece was so much of a pussy that it became unbelievable. I mean who in the world stops for like two minutes at a major crime scene to wash blood off of his face and stare in the mirror? For someone who’s supposed to be smart, he’s incredibly stupid.

The action sequences are really the only thing that makes this film bearable. From the fights and gun battles to a fantastic highway chase sequence, this film keeps your adrenaline pumping and your butt glued to the seat. If you’re looking for dumb violence and fast action, catch this movie. But everything else is such a bore, including the obviously simple and predictable plot twist.

I spent:
6.00 on a ticket
4.00 on gas

I’d watch this on TV if it was on, possibly while doing some other work, but to pay for this? Nope. Maybe rent it if you want a brainless, popcorn night. Until next time, Pork Chop Express is signing off.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Jack Burton Howls in Pain at WOLFMAN

One of the few werewolves I actually acknowledge.

This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.

I caught The Wolfman yesterday, and by "caught," I mean it very much in the same vein as catching lycanthropy: a curse that damns you for the rest of your life. Am I being overly dramatic? I don't know, but I couldn't even stay awake for parts of this train wreck. I was very much looking forward to this film because Joe Johnston directed it. He's directing the upcoming The First Avenger: Captain America film, and has worked on such fanboy classics as the original Star Wars trilogy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Rocketeer, and a slew of other awesome films. So he has the pedigree, and someone out there seems to think he has the chops to hang with the likes of Lucas and Spielberg. So I had hoped for something interesting, something... er... passable as a film. Sadly, this was not meant to be.

I don't know what went wrong with the retelling of a man bitten by a werewolf and hunted by society. It's a simple concept, and you'd think that it'd be executed simply. It may not be timeless, but it could sure as hell be entertaining enough for the here and now. But no. The performances are lackluster at best, save for Hugo Weaving's turn as Scotland Yard Inspector Francis Aberline. He's having a great time of it. Sure, he can never truly escape the Agent Smith comparisons to his characters, but why would he want to, since Agent Smith was such a memorable and hilariously awesome character? Emily Blunt was beautiful, but not really interesting. Benicio Del Torro and Anthony Hopkins both mailed in their performances. The performers just seemed like they knew that they were wasting their time with this drivel.

Okay, so the performances were bad, the pacing was awfully slow (at 1h 46m, it actually felt longer than Avatar), the story and plot details boring, and the Wolfman costume horrible. But at least the town looked authentic enough. That's the weird thing about Joe Johnston films (such as the Rocketeer): they look good enough, but they lack any real redeeming qualities. It's quite appropriate that Danny Elfman did the score.

One last word about the costume: I have never, ever seen a serious werewolf costume that I thought was spot-on awesome. They have always looked hokey to me. I don't know why. But this monstrosity was probably the worst of the bunch. When will they just put a big ass wolf on the damn screen instead of making some weird hybrid-looking motherfucker? It's not scary, or frightening, or whatever.

So I spent:

22.00 on two tickets for me and a buddy, who drove.

If I could redo this, I would never, ever have spent money on this thing. Until next time, Pork Chop Express is signing off.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Back in 1997 a movie called Event Horizon was released and it wasn't until it came out on dvd did I get the chance to see it. I was impressed and in light of movies such as the Aliens franchise, Event Horizon used paranoia as one of it's themes to give the audience an added sense of terror. Flash forward to 2009 and here comes a movie that caught my attention from the trailers that promoted it. Could this be another Event Horizon? Goosebumps! Outerspace! Horror! Those damn spaceships always seem like a trap and with the unknown running around it makes for a helluva good time.

Pandorum opens up with a character named Bower (Ben Foster) and Payton (Dennis Quaid) waking up from suspended animation (Aliens anyone) to discover that the crew that they were relieving is nowhere to be found and the ship doesn't seem to be doing that good. The doors leading out from their room are shut and well, you guessed it, someone has to go out to open the doors. Of course young Bower is the one that goes and Payton stays behind to navigate him through the ships corridors. Bower discovers that there is something more sinister outside those sealed doors and that it is up to him to save the ship, with the aid of other ship inhabitants that he comes across.

I have read the reviews from other (paid) critics who bashed the movie and unanimously said that it would please hard core sci-fi fans, and you know what, they are right. I had a great time watching this one step up from a B-Grade movie and even with a limited budget, it taps into what sci-fi horror on a space ship is all about, the right scares at the right time with the added ingredient of paranoia that could be playing a role into the actions and decisions of the characters. Of course this is no Alien or Aliens, but does it reach the level of a Event Horizon, you betcha!
3 out of 5 speakers

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Paraiso Travel (Netflix Viewing)

Disclaimer: This is my first review of a movie on this blog. May I make a penny a year of income from doing this.

This movie caught my attention due it starring John Leguizamo. That's a lie. Actually the movie description of a young couple from Colombia who are seperated in New York after illegally crossing the border seemed like a interesting viewing. The movie focuses on the Marlon, who is seperated from his love interest, Reina, and his struggle to survive in a strange city. He is able to find refuge in a Colombian restaurant whose owner gives him a helping hand. That is only the beginning, though, as there are many relationships formed, especially with a Colombian singer that he begins to fall for, and interesting characters introduced that give Marlon some time to cope and deal with the time he spends looking for Reina. There are flashbacks throughout the movie that tell the viewer of how Marlon and Reina decided and eventually made the trip to come to the United States.

I can honestly say that this movie had my attention from the beginning and aside from going to get a Pepsi refill, I was content that I had found a great movie with convincing roles that added to the emotion of Marlon's plight. What added to the authenticity of the movie was the use of the spanish language, which is pretty much 95% of the movie to keep it true to the characters and the latin culture that exists in New York. I recommend this movie if you want to view a movie with a solid story with great acting.
3 out of 5 speakers

Jack Burton Braves Snowpocalypse to See.... TOOTH FAIRY?!

A picture is worth a thousand words... but a picture with words? Awesome.

This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't snowing, and the roads were relatively clear. But that doesn't mean it was an easy movie-going experience. I took in the 10.05am showing of Tooth Fairy at Tysons Corner AMC and was surrounded--nay, drowned--by small children and grumpy parents. I hoped for an empty theater and a pleasant surprise. What I got was neither. I should have known that something was going to go wrong when I saw a bird trapped in the theater's hallway, frantically flying against the ceiling in a futile attempt to get the hell outta there. But I persisted in seeing this monstrosity, my eighth film of a rather boring year. After all, I am a fan of The Rock.

Since his WWE days, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has proven that he has oodles of talent, presence, and charisma. Bushels of the stuff. But what has gone wrong in his transition to Hollywood? Because for God's sake, the man can act as well as any other personality actor out there. He's had a string of fantastic characters; The Rundown is perhaps the most underrated action comedy film of the 2000s, his turn as a gay bodyguard-turned-cowboy-country-singer in Be Cool was perhaps that film's only saving grace, Gridiron Gang was, while generic, a believable tale accentuated by a believable performance, and yes, I really enjoyed The Game Plan.

That last movie is the one to which Tooth Fairy will be compared. And yes, I did enjoy The Game Plan. I thought it was funny, witty, and even at some places heartwarming. And it is leagues better than Tooth Fairy because The Game Plan succeeded on the merit of its characters, particularly Joe King (The Rock). Tooth Fairy, however, doesn't have a strong leading character in Derek Thompson (The Rock). The entire premise of the movie is fantastical--a hockey player smashes children's dreams and reveals that there's no such thing as a tooth fairy; as punishment by the fairies, he must serve a term of two weeks as the Tooth Fairy. Now, wouldn't you expect some kind of Ebenezer Scrooge character for the Rock to play? Wouldn't that be hilarious to see him as a frumpy, grumpy dude? Too bad, the producers didn't see the wisdom in that. He's a basically normal nice guy. He doesn't scream or yell at kids. He doesn't treat them poorly. In fact, he's a pretty cool dude who's handled pretty evenly. THAT DOESN'T SUIT THE STORY.

Joe King in The Game Plan was hilariously out-of-this-world with his egocentric ways, which worked perfectly for the movie because the point of a story is to have a character that changes, right? The audience needs to WANT the character to change, to be saved. But Derek Thompson isn't that guy. He treats his girlfriend great, her kids as well, and even tries to step up as a mentor for a young hockey prodigy. There's really nothing wrong with him. So what if he tells kids that they shouldn't aim too high to be a professional hockey player? At some point the kid has to realize it. He doesn't yell, he simply explains to them the situation, and he's absolutely right. There ARE better players out there, and there ARE no such things as tooth fairies (this storyline excepted, obviously). So what are we left with? A relatively good guy who's honest who turns to a relatively good guy who lies and sugarcoats the truth. We need a stronger lead character. Go off the deep end with him. His salvation was just not very interesting.

The cast was actually quite good. Seth MacFarlane makes a fantastic cameo as a sleazy fairy hustler, Billy Crystal has a nice turn as a Q-type (of Bond fame) character, Julie Andrews was annoying, and Ashley Judd really shouldn't be getting any work anywhere. The real revelation was comedian-actor Stephen Merchant as Tracy, Derek Thompson's case worker. His timing was fantastic and he stole most of the scenes he was in. Interestingly, he looks perfect to pick up the role of Joker in the Batman franchise if they ever need someone small-time. He's a scary looking dude, especially for such a pivotal role in a children's movie.

All in all, I spent:

6.00 on a ticket
4.00 on gas

10 bucks. No fucking way. Ever. This was such a waste of my time; I should have slept in. Till next time, Pork Chop Express is signing off.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lobo Status: Weeks 3-5

7 down. 143 more to go.

One movie in three weeks. WEAK!

Movies seen:
The Book of Eli

Overall Impression:
I have to pick up my game if I'm going to reach 150.

Review: The Book of Eli

Action. Apocalypse. The Future. Denzel. Mila Kunis. Gary Oldman as a bad guy. If you like any of those things, you will most likely dig this movie. All together they make for an entertaining time at the theater.

After seeing the trailer for The Book of Eli, I thought, oh great...another Denzel movie where he plays an over-acted badass in an attempt to get Oscar buzz. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a more subdued Denzel where the story is the focus and not it's A-lister. His performance here is noble and mysterious which keeps his character interesting as opposed to most of his other performances where he is just yelling all the time.

So we find out early on that this post-apocalyptic world is due to a catastrophic war and Eli has a book in his possession that he believes will save mankind when delivered to it's rightful place. His journey is driven by faith and hope in mankind, and he runs across obstacles that would prevent him from accomplishing his mission. These obstacles come in the form of cannibals and the great Gary Oldman and his goons.

Gary Oldman doesn't dissapoint as the villain and the man-in-charge of a small town where he has built a functioning civilization of crooks and survivors. He has spent his resources trying to find a book, which happens to be the book Eli is carrying. He too believes that this book will change mankind, but his reasons for finding the book are selfish. This is a perfect fit for Oldman's talents but he doesn't bring anything new. He gives a good performance which we have always come to expect.

What I liked were the fighting scenes. There is some well choreographed action with both guns and swords/knives. There is one particular scene where Eli and Mila Kunis' character are trapped in a house and they get pwned by Oldman's goons that was pretty sweet. And those of you that like a little bit of thought mixed with your action will probably enjoy the overall premise of the movie. I was a bit disgusted by some of the unneccesary product placement and logo advertising in the movie. But it wasn't enough to give it a bad review.

Lobo says: 3 out of 4 moons