Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Attack the Block, Conan the Barbarian, The Birds, The Killing, and other things...

Attack the Block, VF* and fucking brilliant! Trust!

          Go and see this movie right now. If it's in a theater near you, that is. I had to wait around to see this movie, having botched my opportunity to see it during San Diego Comic Con (damn slow service at Hard Rock Cafe!), and I did in fact have to cross state to see it but it was so worth it!
          If Super 8 (Not VF) is an alien invasion from the perspective of the innocence of childhood, Attack the Block is from the perspective of...well not that. The kids in this flick are machete wielding, alien-ass kicking gangsters who know how to take matters into their own hands. You wouldn't want to meet them in a dark alley, but in case of an infestation of wolf-like, glowing jawed extra-terrestrials, you best keep near them. The ringleader of this gang of well-armed minors, Moses, will be your new best hero. He's played masterfully by John Boyega dispite this being his first film. He's cool, subtle, and turns out to be a very sympathetic character.
          Some other notable characters: Ron, the keeper of the weed room, the safest place in all of London, played by the Nick Frost (Paul (VF), Pirate Radio (VF), and Hot Fuzz (VF)), the way-too-stoned-for-this-shit-hipster Brewis played by Luke Treadaway, and my fave of Moses' team, who is also way-too-stoned but very lovable in my opinion, Pest, played by Alex Esmail whose IMDB page also has lots of room to grow.
          Never has my heart been so warmed by watching a bunch of aliens get their furry butts handed to them. I fell in love with these kids, and so will you. Have I told you enough to see this movie? Oh, right, it's impossible to tell you too much to see this movie. Go see this movie.
*There is a point where a kid gets the back of his head bitten off and stuff comes out of his mouth and while it's not technically V, you might want to close your eyes. It's in the scene where there is so much smoke in the hallway that the kid with glasses gets separated. The kid with the hat goes back to look for him, and when he finds him he's being dragged away by the monster. At that point, close your eyes and count to 20 or so. No need to cover your ears. Don't let this scene stop you from seeing this movie.

Now on the other hand...

Conan the Barbarian is VF and terrible and why would you subject yourself to such a thing?

           I can't in good conscience write a real drawn out review of this, because I walked out of the theater. That is a testament, however, to how bad it was. When the ridiculously inappropriate Morgan Freeman narration started, I just prayed to the gods of cinema that this was another trailer for a far worse move that I would never buy tickets for, but by the time the battlefield c-section happened I knew that my evening at the cinema would be a sour one. The dialogue was super squirmy, and the gore was so very splashy, sticky, and tasteless that I was positive there was going to be some kind of horrible V scene that would happen that would just ruin my mood along with my night, so I bid my hubby and his friend adieu, reminding myself to call them suckers the next time I saw them...
          They assured me that the rest of the movie was VF, and I trust them. So if you feel you must see this movie, it's emet friendly, despite being an offense to the rest of the brain.

Some quickies...

The Birds (1963) IV- I actually got to see this on the big screen, which was pretty cool. I'm no Hitchcock aficionado, I've only seen a handful of the most obvious of his films: Psycho (1960, VF), North by Northwest (1959, VF) and my favorite of the bunch Vertigo (1958, VF), but this one was by far the least grounded in reality. It never really gets hammered out what those damn birds are up to. There is an instance of IV, but it's super obvious. The girl looks terrible, she says something to the effect of "I'm sick" and runs off screen. You can just cover your ears and hum the jeopardy theme one time, no need to cover your eyes, unless it makes you feel better.

The Killing (1956) VF- This film noir is one of Stanley Kubrick's early films and I really enjoyed it. It's a caper-type flick, along the lines of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (my second favorite movie of all time, IV) or Oceans 11 (VF? It's been a while...) and it feels very modern. If you like crime, you'll like this movie.

The Eagle (2011) Not VF- This was one of those rash netflix decisions that was quickly regretted. I'm not the greatest Channing Tatem fan, nor am I history/war movie/Roman things in general fan, and once the V scene happened we just turned it off. The scene happens about 15 minutes into the movie. Tatem is about to take his legion into battle, he says a prayer to himself, then turns to address his legion, he yells stuff, and then there is a quick but graphic instance. If you want to close your eyes/ears I would start when he starts his speech, and when you hear him wind down his speech through your hands I would hum the jeopardy theme one time, perhaps two to be on the safe side. I don't know if there are further V scenes, so if you want to update me just comment, or tweet me @VFcinema

Word on the street...

According to my friend Matt, the Doctor Who special  "Waters of Mars" is SO Not VF I should not even try and watch it.

I have from a very good source that the pilot of the new series Alcatraz is Not VF, but the instance is early, obvious and brief and we should all watch it anyway.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Cowboys & Aliens, also Captain America, The Big Lebowski, Forbidden Planet, The Smurfs, Crazy Stupid Love, and Dead Men Walking

Rise of the Planet of the Apes VF* and quite the tear jerker...

          I went into this movie skeptically, deciding to divorce it from my mind from the 1968 Chuck Heston sci-fi classic, Planet of the Apes (VF). I had decided to myself that the end of the of the original movie indicated that human beings had wiped themselves out, and that apes just happened to be the evolutionary predecessor and enough time had passed and they had taken over the planet. I understand that the rest  Planet of the Apes Movies (not yet emet-rated) get even more convoluted and somehow there is time travel involved, and I feel sorry for the complicated emotions of those unhappy few, perhaps they are less capable of looking at this "prequel" as a stand-alone flick. I came out of the movie wiping tears from my eyes, with my heart bursting with compassion for the misunderstood apes and the man who loved them.
         I honestly thought it was going to be another exhausting film about how humans are evil, and nature is perfect, and why can't those damned scientists leave well enough alone, you know, like Avatar (2009, VF) but with apes instead of Na'vi. It was rather, why can't "Big Pharma" leave well enough alone, which I'm okay with as a plot point, but for me, that wasn't the main focus of the movie. For me it was about the relationship between the scientist, Will Rodman (James Franco), and his adopted test subject/child Caesar (Andy Serkis). Dr. Rodman raised a son whom he can never understand, and Caesar was raised by a father who never could understand him. Though they both love and respect each other, they know, ultimately, they must lead separate lives. Perhaps it was my sheltered religious upbringing, but who doesn't identify with that?
          The casting is great. I enjoyed Franco as the brilliant and compassionate scientist, which surprised me considering I'm still mad at him for the Oscars, the always brilliant John Lithogow was brilliant as always as the father with Alzheimer's who inspires Dr. Rodman to create the gene therapy that causes the apocalypse (not a spoiler, bitch, it's in the title), and Tom Felton (yeah, Draco!) as the abusive ape sanctuary employee, but the star of the movie can actually be found way down the IMDB list, after a nameless anchor person, fourth down from "Man with Newspaper." Yeah, I'm being a smarty pants, but the star is Caesar, played via MoCap by Andy Serkis.
         At San Diego Comic Con, they showed some footage of Andy Serkis doing one of the animal sanctuary scenes in the full on crazy Motion Capture gear, and I could really see how much his physicality created the character. While in the theater, my heart went out to Caesar not just as an abused animal, but as a person who is stuck in an impossible situation, literally peerless. Motion Capture may not be all the way there to creating a completely photo-realistic ape, but the amount an actor can portray through the technology is nothing short of astounding. And it's only going to get better. (Don't disappoint me Tin Tin!)
*There is a character in this film who gets ill, but it seems to be a respiratory thing, with bloody noses and the like. He looks terrible, but the movie is VF. Enjoy!

Cowboys & Aliens VF* and a great western with aliens in it!

          If you're expecting an sci-fi action alien thriller with Cowboys in it, this might not be the movie for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for Western with Aliens in it, you are in for a good time! I'm no expert on Westerns, but I am cinematically educated enough to know a trope when I see it. There's the usual archetypes: the token "man with no name," played deftly by Daniel Craig, the power hungry tycoon, played by the legendary Harrison Ford, the gun toting preacher played by Clancy Brown, the city slickin' doctor played by Sam Rockwell, and even a passing reference to hooker with a heart of gold. And there's the usual plot points: the MWNN enters the small town, there's conflict that earns the sympathy of the seemingly emotionless MWNN, the gathering of the posse, tracking, all culminating in a shoot out.
           The cast is great. In addition to the aforementioned stars, there is Walton Goggins who plays one of the MWNN's former posse, and his scene is gold. (He plays the white supremacist you hate to love on FX's Justified. Fantastic.) There's also Olivia Wilde, who I personally feel is too beautiful to believe in any role. She has the kind of beauty that takes getting used to. Maybe that's just me. At first I felt they could have used better economy in showing the aliens, more like Jaws (VF) where there is very little shark until the climax, but perhaps it was to serve the shoot out at the end. I over all enjoyed the movie as a whole, totally worth seeing. Some unconventional, light summer viewing.
*There is a lot of chaw spitting. It's not V but it's gross.

Some Quickies...

Captain America VF* I technically slept through this movie in the theater, not a comment on the film, I was just exhausted. The people including my very emet-sensitive hubby that it was VF. There was one scene where a Nazi breaks off his tooth and he foams at the mouth a bit, but that's it.

The Big Lebowski (1998) VF* starring Jeff Bridges. I'm watching it as I write this review, as I re-watch this quirky comedy classic. I just watched the ferret in the tub scene. Classic. If you have not seen this movie, netflix it, or better yet, the blu-ray just came out, buy it. You'll get your money's worth. *There's drinking and a fairly intense drug trip scene, but it's VF.

Forbidden Planet (1956) VF starring Leslie Nielsen as Commander J.J. James, leader of a expedition to planet where crew of a previous expedition disappeared. It's a great adventure story, as well as an insight into the late 50's pop-psychology.

Some Twitter Updates to @VFcinema
From my friend, Robert, The Smurfs is not VF.

From @mouthdork:
"@VFCinema #Super is sooooo Not VF. Doesn't come till the end but it's a doozy."

From @mamasocrazy
"@VFCinema Crazy, Stupid, Love is 100% VF and so freaking sweet and funny I wanna schuggle it!"

From @Guttercat69:
"@VFCinema @mouthdork Heads up, "Dead Men Walking" most certainly isn't VF."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Quick Hits: Larry Crowne, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, pt 2, Source Code, and Doctor Who: Series 1 and 2

Whoo! I have a LOT of catching up to do. Here are some quick hits of movies I've watched recently:

Larry Crowne was definitely cheesey, I liken it unto a bunch of dads getting to write a movie, the romance and a lot of the jokes fall flat, but it is not totally devoid of charms. It's NOT VF, though you don't see it as a verb but as a noun. It's in the montage in the beginning of the movie when he's just so happy working retail. It comes up suddenly, but takes some looking to actually see, so you can either close your eyes for the whole montage or just as soon as you see a mom with her baby by a bouncy horse, close your eyes.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, pt 2, was fine, kinda anti-climactic in my opinion. The fight between the other 'V' word, Voldemort, and Harry Potter could have been much more satisfying. I figure if you were going to see this movie in the theater, you've probably watched it already, but just so you know, it is VF. 

Source Code starring the very handsome Jake Gyllenhaal was a fascinating science fiction/time travel thriller that had a cool psychological angle to it. I highly recommend it despite it being IV. You don't see anything, but when you see the man in the suit who is not Jake Gyllenhaal run for the train station bathroom, you might want to plug your ears.

Doctor Who: Series 1 with Christopher Eccleston was my introduction into my latest sci-fi obsession, Doctor Who. I'm into Series 3 with David Tennent as The Doctor, but I still consider Mr. Eccleston "My Doctor." Unfortunately Episode 7 is NOT  VF, so close your eyes after Adam's surgery. He says he's going to be s*ck, so there's no mistaking it. Otherwise it's V FREE. (Series 2 is also VF)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Sucker Punch

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is VF*, so turn your brain off, and put your 3-D glasses on!

I am not the biggest fan of the Transformers' franchise. I was a pretty sheltered child, only being able to watch public television networks, so I didn't really have the kind of nostalgia to carry me through the first two films. I actually fell asleep in the theater for both installments I (VF) and II(VF) -I tend to find visually hard to follow CGI'd fight scenes soothing- but Dark of the Moon actually managed not only to keep me awake, but entertained! I'm a sucker for the new plot twist- that the space race was actually a cover up for why we really needed to get to the moon. The movie started with these great flashback scenes to the 60s, and, yeah, the CGI-Kennedy looked a tad creepy, but there is a cameo with the REAL Buzz Aldrin,  is bad-ass.

Shia La Beouf is at his La Beouf-iest as Sam Witwicky, the sputtery, anxious, reluctant protagonist. Even through the clunkiness of the first two films, I always like Sam Witwicky as a hero. He's spastic, and awkward, and really has nothing to offer in the times of crisis besides the fact that he just happens to be the guy who cares the most, and with that he saves the day. Apparently, between films two and three, he's managed to snag himself another hottie, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) and he didn't even have to save her from a robo-pocalypse! Sure, she's way too perfect visually, and misogynisticly underdeveloped as a character, but she has an accent, therefore she is less annoying than Megan Fox. Mr. and Mrs. Witwicky are back and hilarious as usual, and there is a great scene where the Mom Witwicky acknowledges the disparate nature of the attractiveness of her son v. his girlfriends, and it's adorable.

The downside of the Tranformers movies I and II for me, aside from the terrible writing and plot, has been the robots. In the first movie their fight scenes were hard to follow, and therefore boring and too long, then in the second movie they made some really embarrassing and offensive additions to the  robot cast, but that has really been culled down a lot. The fight scenes in this movie were awesome, and were super easy to follow, and are greatly enhanced by the 3-D. There are some cheesy things about the fights, like 'why would Optimus Prime need a shot gun when he is essentially made of guns?' and 'You're an ass-kicking robot from space. How long does it take to get untangled?' but it's all in good fun, and totally worth the extra six bucks to get the glasses. The more offensive robots have been removed, namely Skids and Mudflap, and the only really annoying bots were the two little ones, Wheelie and Jolt, who may or may not sacrificed themselves for the cause... I haven't seen a confirmation one way or the other.

Shakespeare, it is not, but if you have low expectations like I had, you're in for a good time.

* In the fights scenes the transformers often spurt robot blood from their mouths, and the colors tend to be on off reddish color and yellow, but if you think about it contextually, it is clearly robot-blood, and not the other thing. If you're too hypersensitive right now to handle even this, you might want to think twice seeing this movie.

Now in the spirit of other things that are not Shakespeare...

Sucker Punch, yeah it's VF, but MAN is it dull...

Watching Sucker Punch is like watching someone else play a video game. Either pass me the controller, or turn this off, because this is Dulls-ville. Even the plot sounds like a video game concept, five sexy girls are stuck wearing sexy costumes in a sexy asylum, and they are forced to battle through four mad-sexy fantasy scenarios to get the four tokens so they can battle the boss and gain their sexy freedom.  The sexy leader of the five sexy girls is the new kid in the asylum, the one called "Baby Doll Spice" (Emily Browning), who has an appropriately dark past and a will to live. The other four girls names are "Sweet Pea Spice," "Rocket Spice," "Blondie Spice" and "Amber Spice," but don't be fooled by their different names that seem to indicate different character aspects, because these girls are all the same: sexy, troubled, and as interchangeable as AA batteries. The look that grabbed me in all the trailers turned out to be only interesting for about the length of, um, a movie trailer.  I was surprised when my husband pointed out that this movie was directed by Zack Snyder, the same guy who did Watchmen (Not VF) which was both visually stunning and really good.

This movie is VF though, so if you are willing to suffer through it, there is no reason to cover your eyes, unless you are doing the appropriate face-palm for how dull this movie is.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Green Lantern, and It's Kind of a Funny Story

Green Lantern, VF, but not Cheese-F

I went into this movie knowing hardly anything about about the Green Lantern, and came away with the impression that he is a whiny, commitment-phobe pussy. Did they mean to do that? He sees an alien, puts on the magic ring, goes to the Latern hub-thing, gets trained by an Alien to use his nigh-limitless superpowers and he's on the fence about it? Sure, I like the puppy eyes of Ryan Reynolds as much as the next person, but a superhero should be using his powers for good, not for pouting.

The special effects also came across as kind of fake. They did the whole CGI'd suit thing, and they had all the aliens from all the other sectors and stuff, and I think they were trying to make them all look as if they were illuminated from the inside by the green light of will, but it ended up looking kind of plastic... but not nearly as plastic as the performance of the leading lady, Blake Lively, from Gossip Girl. BA-ZING! No really, she's terrible.

The saving grace of this movie were the performances of the two villians, the power-crazed scientist with daddy issues Hector Hammond, played by Peter Sarsgaard and the Red-faced Sinestro played by Mark Strong. Hector Hammond does not get the respect he feels he deserves from his Senator daddy, played by Tim Robbins (whose talent is severely untapped in this film), and he goes mental. Sarsgaard takes his performance way over the top, and it's hilarious. Now, Sinestro really isn't a villian in this movie, per se, but he totally has that going to the darkside vibe, and his name is Sinestro. I've really liked Marks Strong's performances in Rocknrolla (VF*) and Kick-ass (VF). He just exudes power and self control, and that also stands true for this movie.

The movie comes across as super cheesy, to the point that I didn't connect to any of the characters, but it is totally VF, so if you're desperate to see it, you have no reason to fear.

It's Kind of a Funny Story, so NOT VF I couldn't even get through it.

A real shame, because I've been intrigued by this movie ever since I saw the trailers for the movie. Teenage love in a mental ward appealed to me, and the movie had Zach Galifianakis, whom I love but he can't seem to put out a movie that is emetophobe friendly. I have enjoyed Zach Galifianakis from his stand up I've caught on Comedy Central, and he was also in the documentary The Comedians of Comedy (VF- the documentary, I can't speak to the TV show) with Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, and my personal fave Maria Bamford, which I love, but the Hangover series is one I'll never embrace for obvious reasons, and Due Date with Robert Downey jr. which my husband reported to me was not VF.

I sat down to watch It's Kind of a Funny Story with my brother and his wife, which I knew would be risky because it took place in a hospital and the Zach-factor, but I was being brave. The first V* scene made me jump so hard that I hit my head with my empty pizza plate, dumping crumbs all down my front, and the second V* scene was in quick succession, so they kindly stopped the movie. By sister-in-law kindly checked the internet for me, and it turns out that the whole V* thing seems to be a running theme through out the film. Sad for me, but if I want to catch Zach Galifianakis in cinema, I can also re-watch his one scene in Up in the Air (VF) with George Clooney, which is hilarious.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Midnight in Paris, Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom

Midnight in Paris, VF* and freaking magical. My favorite movie of the year thus far, and I loved Super 8 (Not VF).

I went into this movie knowing nothing about it but that it was going to be my first Woody Allen movie, and that my hubby is not a Woody Allen fan, but I left craving Cole Porter tunes, and sending gushing texts to my loved ones telling them to see this film. Owen Wilson was personable and funny as the nerdy protagonist whose love for the 1920s is lost on his cripplingly yuppy fiancĂ©e played by Rachael McAdams. They may have gone to Paris together, but they are most definitely not on the same trip. Cryptic, yes? The less you know you about this movie going in the better, but I will tell you, you will be enchanted, you will be in love, you will be doing the charleston.

*There is some mild drunkenness in the beginning of the film, but nothing happens.

Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom, VF, and with all the Cars B.S., a kid's movie franchise that I can get behind.

A kid's movie? Of course it's V free! Um... those of us who have seen the Judy Moody trailer know better! (If it pops up while you're at the movies or watching television and you haven't caught it yet, close your eyes as soon as you see the roller coaster, the incident is cartoony but still super gross. My Hubs is saying the Spy Kids 4 trailer is also not VF, so go get popcorn or something.)

I was a huge fan of the first Kung Fu Panda (VF), and this sequel a worthy continuation of the saga of Po (Jack Black), the pudgy panda who evolves from Kung Fu fanboy to Dragon Warrior. I was grateful that this wasn't a rehashing of the old plot about a fat guy who has a hard time with physical fitness. He may still have issues with stairs, but he's totally a Kung Fu master. This movie goes deeper into the relationship with his goose father, Mr. Ping (James Hong) which had some very touching moments, and Po's struggle for inner peace. I'm a Jack Black fan, I just can't help myself, but even people who have issues with his over the top goof-ball mannerisms will enjoy this movie.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Super 8, X-Men: First Class, Rubber

Super 8: Not VF (v free), but totally worth seeing! There is that definite gloss of 80s adventure movie nostalgia which I find totally charming with the special effects that add an air of realism and excitement to the whole thing, and the innocent romance is adorable. 
There is an instance of IV where v is mentioned briefly in a conversation toward the beginning of the movie when the main character has just arrived at school, so if you would like to plug your ears, watch out for the red headed kid with braces to come out of the school plug your ears and hum the Jeopardy theme one time. It is not descriptive or anything so if your not one of the uber-sensitive, you can take it.
There are two not VF scenes, both inflicted by the same character, so feel free to hate the friend in glasses. What a pussy.
The first is after the train has crashed. Time passes while the main character is explores the crash by himself which is fine, but then he reaches a clearing reunited with his friend and then yuck. It’s rather sudden, and I’ve only seen the movie one time, so if you want to triangulate this incident better in the comments, it would be greatly appreciated.
The second scene is when the kids are on the bus and the soldier is pulled out the door by the creature. Close your eyes and hum the jeopardy theme two times, do not forget the modulation, because ew.
X Men: First Class: VF, and an excellent superhero period piece. By far my favorite X Men movie (all of which are VF, pleasantly), It is the first one that does handles the genocide theme really well, and the cast is awesome. 
Rubber: VF with an *, but another really fun movie. It is utterly absurd, and if you really embrace the premise laid out for you in a fantastic monologue in the beginning of the movie, you are bound to have a good time.
There is an incident where a bunch of the cast members are poisoned, and there is a lot of moaning and holding of stomachs, and I totally squirmed through the scene, and them another character is poisoned and he is moaning and squirming, but nothing happens. Trust me!