Me and My Nine Iron

March 30, 2012

Wrath of the Titans 3D review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 2:07 pm
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Seen at a pre-release screening in Pico Rivera:

I am officially tired of movies about Greek myths. Better than its 2010 predecessor, Clash of the Titans, it’s still a mundane action movie involving gods and mythical creatures. I mean they certainly made it work with what they were given and the movie is generally favorable, it’s just too structured and predictable. If you want to watch a movie about myths and titans, watch Immortals instead.

That being said, there were a lot of cool scenes. I especially loved the labyrinth scene, they always have cool creatures–this time, the Cyclopses–and the 3D usage was one of the best I’ve ever seen, but they better have an awesome production value given its behemoth $150 million budget. It’s currently last on my list of movies I’ve seen this year.

So not looking forward to the third installment…as I trudge my way into the theater.

Wrath of the Titans opens in theaters today.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

IMDb rating: 6.9
What it should be: 6.9

Pass

BJ

March 29, 2012

Dead in the Room

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 12:09 am
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An amusing short centered on a screenwriting pitch event.

Having volunteered at the recent Screenwriting Expo, I can say that the first 1:10 is dead-on accurate. The rest is, well…

BJ

March 28, 2012

Funny video games

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 11:51 pm

Oh, so sad.

I want to play this game. Commentary’s hilarious.

BJ

March 23, 2012

American Reunion review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 1:00 pm
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Seen at a pre-release screening in Hollywood:

I was happy to make my first trip to the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater, where the price of admission for a weekend night showtime is $16.50. The fourth film in the original American Pie franchise is as instant a classic as the first one. With every single character from the original at least making an appearance, it truly is one big reunion of all the characters we’ve grown to love.

The story structure is the exact same from beginning to end, with embarrassing gaffes from Jim, Stifler’s house party and ultimately, the guys’ high school reunion, which makes it so nostalgic. Eugene Levy has a hilarious role in this one, and Stifler is classic Stifler. Written and directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, the brains behind the Harold & Kumar franchise, and the first not to be written by Adam Herz, this one doesn’t miss a beat and is exactly what American Pie fans wanted nine years after American Wedding.

The tagline is “Save the best piece for last,” but we’ll see if the studio heads can actually close the book on this franchise after the first three each made over $230 million. These are how sequels should be made. (Except for The Hangover Part II, apparently.) A must-watch for American Pie fans.

American Reunion opens in theaters on April 6.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

IMDb rating: n/a
What it should be: 7.0

Recommend

BJ

March 22, 2012

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 4:49 pm
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Seen at a pre-release screening in Hollywood:

I had the pleasure of being one of the first to see this film at the Paramount lot, which hopefully, is the first of many visits for me. They have their own small, intimate theater with movie-quality 3D glasses that need to be activated and display better 3D than you can ever find in a theater. You know, the kind that would actually make the surcharge worth it. Right before the movie started, Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton and who I believe to be their Norwegian director popped in the back to join us.

I have to say that the movie didn’t sit well with me. It seemed all too formulaic in its storytelling (i.e. the kids’ first encounter of witches at the gingerbread house turning into killing witches for a living; this whole movie being about killing one big one), and the action scenes, which were the best part, never put the protagonists in any real danger – which might be the most critical error to make in an action movie, and the reason why I hated Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. When Gretel was tied up at the end, I didn’t once feel like she was close to death. When Hansel took a baseball swing from a shovel to the face, he only got as hurt as any other time. As bloodied as they always got from every battle, these characters were invincible.

But it still felt weird overall, having the characters talk modern English in a centuries-ago setting. It’s like I appreciated the modern take on an old fairy tale, yet was turned off by it at the same time. I think the ‘cool’ factor got lost somewhere in the execution from Tommy Wirkola, who wrote and directed his first American movie – with a $60 million budget, no less. Story experts would probably claim there wasn’t enough depth–it ran under 80 minutes, which is unheard of for an action movie–and I just found it a subpar action movie.

Up until January, this movie was scheduled to come out on March 2nd but fell into post-production problems–it’s still without a trailer or poster–so it was pushed back to next year, giving them time for a 3D marketing campaign. Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are co-producers under their Gary Sanchez Productions, who are eying a franchise for these flawed characters.

The ratings were generous given that the overall production value looked good. Shot on location in Germany.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters opens in theaters on January 11, 2013.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

IMDb rating: n/a
What it should be: 6.5

Pass

BJ

March 21, 2012

The Dictator review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 12:39 pm
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Seen at a pre-release screening in Marina Del Rey:

This movie likely won’t get the critical love that it deserves, but it was surprisingly solid. You don’t have to be a Sacha Baron Cohen fan, as I wasn’t crazy about Borat, to appreciate this satirical comedy about a dictator fighting against democracy in his Middle Eastern country.

Other notes: Funny throughout…great replay value…a short 72 minutes.

Cohen will be in two other live-action movies this year: Les Miserables and Django Unchained. Larry Charles, who directed Cohen’s first two films, is back for this one. Next year, the TV head will release his first wide release movie not to star Cohen since his first in 2003 – Pierre Pierre, a comedy with Jim Carrey and the Mona Lisa.

The Dictator opens in theaters on May 11.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

IMDb rating: n/a
What it should be: 7.5

Recommend

If you’re ever in the Marina Del Rey area and craving sushi, try Hamakaze Sushi & Izakaya. Off Washington Blvd., this Asian Fusion joint is nice and chic for any type of party to enjoy. We tried a half-dozen different rolls, and I was really excited for their spicy salmon and spicy yellowtail rolls.

I’m pretty sure it’s Korean-owned from the employees I heard in the back. I would definitely come back if I’m in the area.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

BJ

March 20, 2012

Jeff, Who Lives at Home review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 2:52 pm
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Seen at a pre-release screening in Los Angeles:

This indie comedy starring Jason Segel and Ed Helms is the Duplass brothers’ follow-up to Cyrus, and while the intentions are nice, the existential role is getting cliche – done as recently as last year by Segel’s bud, Paul Rudd in Our Idiot Brother.

This movie would’ve been more appropriately titled A Day in the Life of Jeff, as we follow Segel’s character for a day. It only keeps my attention because I like the cast, but there’s not a whole lot going on and the payoff is mildly satisfying.

Not a bad way to spend 80 minutes, but I’d only recommend this to fans of Segel, Helms or the work of the Duplass brothers.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home opened in limited release Friday.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

IMDb rating: 6.9
What it should be: 6.9

Consider

BJ

March 13, 2012

A night at L.A. Live

I went out to my first L.A. Clippers game this year so I decided to grab dinner at The Original Pantry Cafe across the street before the game. This iconic restaurant owned by former L.A. mayor Richard Riordan and is open 24/7 has served many celebrities and is even featured in Knocked Up. It’s a good price for a steakhouse, but the quality makes it an after-hours only option, which at that time, I would never be in the area or make the drive to come here.

I got the New York ($17.45), which was pretty good quality and perfectly portioned, and also tried the Top Sirloin ($15.25), which is not good at all. I’ve been told the T-Bone ($24.50) is good and saw every other table have an order of Spaghetti and Meatball ($9.45). Steaks come with a plate of potatoes and a bowl of peas, which aren’t good, and bread and cole slaw come with each table.

A neat place to try, but I’d probably try any of the other eateries in L.A. Live next time.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Across the street from Staples Center was the world premiere of The Hunger Games. Fans were behind a rail across the street hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars. I saw on the big screen Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and girlfriend, Miley Cyrus on the red carpet.

Looking forward to the movie, which comes out on 3/23.

Lob City was largely unentertaining, and basketball, like baseball, is slowly creeping up on me as not a fun game to watch in person. (I’ll still go see an Angels game this year.) As for the game itself, it was a sloppy, low-scoring game that was streaky throughout, had six technical fouls and was the 30th consecutive sellout dating back to last season (19 this season). But how ugly was it?

Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul had a combined 10 turnovers.
Caron Butler, Paul and DeAndre Jordan shot a combined 9-for-35 (26%).
The Clippers shot 37% from the field.
Kenyon Martin and Eric Bledsoe looked awful, going 0-for-3 with 3 turnovers and four fouls in a combined 13 minutes off the bench.
And Blake Griffin was unspectacular.

Boston (22-19) 94 – LAC (23-17) 85

Overall, a horrible value for the inflated ticket prices.

Rating: 2 stars out of 5

BJ

March 12, 2012

21 Jump Street review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 9:39 am
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Seen at a pre-release screening in Los Angeles:

Based on the TV series from the ’80’s, this should hold up as one of the best comedies of the year and would certainly rank among Bridesmaids and The Change-Up, my favorite comedies from last year. LOL from start to finish, if you liked Superbad, you’ll like this movie. Awesome cameos, yes, Channing Tatum is funny (but I could’ve told you that from She’s the Man) and I loved Dave Franco‘s–James’ little brother–on-screen presence.

Can’t wait for the sequel, which is currently in development.

21 Jump Street comes out in theaters Friday.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

IMDb Rating: n/a
What it should be: About 7.5

Recommend

BJ

March 9, 2012

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 12:50 pm
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Seen at a pre-release screening in Glendale:

Get used to the peculiar title. This movie better be a major contender come next Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay from Oscar-winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire). I decided to give this a go based on its high IMDb rating and the lovably Emily Blunt, who’s arguably the perfect ‘wife’ material. Boy, was I glad I went.

This is my favorite movie in the last four years and begs the question why I don’t watch more British movies. Believe it or not, it made me feel even better than Midnight in Paris–my favorite film from last year–and every bit as cinematic and family-friendly as The King’s Speech, the 2010 Best Picture. Just brilliantly made with Ewan McGregor among others, give this witty romantic comedy-drama a shot and you won’t be disappointed.

It was so good I made my parents go to a screening the next day, and my dad really liked it. And it’s near impossible to please my dad.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen comes out in limited release today.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

IMDb Rating: 7.2
What it should be: 8.2

Recommend

BJ

P.S. Fuck you, Silent House, for being packed and turning me away at a screening after a grueling drive to Burbank. You better make at least $20 million this weekend.

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