Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Review: Meet the Spartans (2008) [Reviewed By Clifford Kiyabu]

Directed by: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
Written by: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
Genre: Comedy
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, language and some comic violence.
Released: 25 January 2008 (USA)
Starring: Sean Maguire, Carmen Electra, Diedrich Bader, Kevin Sorbo, Jim Piddock, Method Man, Ken Davitian.

Plot: The heroic Leonidas, armed with nothing by leather underwear and a cape, leads a ragtag group of 13--count ‘em, 13!--Spartans to defend their homeland against the invading Persians (whose ranks include Ghost Rider, Rocky Balboa, the Transformers, and a hunchbacked Paris Hilton--no one is safe when the Spartans take on the biggest icons in pop culture).

Review: 1/10

My Thoughts: 2007 was a year of many great film releases, one of which was a stunning and fantastic film called 300, it was so outstanding that during the film’s last minutes I was overcome with strong emotions, some of sadness (Because the ending was sad) and some of pure enjoyment. I loved every single bit of it, so much that till this day it remains one of the fewest of few films to ever receive a 10/10 on my behalf as a film critic, and believe me when I say I’ve seen a Lot of films in my lifetime. So it did not surprise me that not even a full year had pass before a spoof based on it would be made, after all it is one of the best films of 2007, so a parody is expected, just not one as soon as Meet the Spartans however, long before the film had been released fellow members of the film critics community had already criticizing that it was going to be by far the worst film ever and so on, I on the other hand knew it probably wasn’t going to be anything worth seeing, not even if it was free, but I believe that no film should ever be judged by a film critic unless that critic watches it from start to finish, no exceptions, and as a film critic I stand strongly by my belief through and through, no matter how much people told me it was bad I still held back my judgment on it until I saw it for myself, now since I did not want to waste money at the theaters to see it, I waited for it to come out on DVD, what I saw left me… speechless, but not at all in a good way I promise you that, I can’t begin to explain just how horrible this film was.

Actually I take that back, I most defiantly can! [Laughs] if I had to choose between watching films by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, or Uwe Boll (God forgive me for saying this…) I’d choose Uwe Boll any day of the week, now with that said I don’t even like Mr. Boll the least bit, but that shows you just how much I can’t stand the idiocy that is Friedberg and Seltzer, their style of film making is basically this; and this is how they’ve made all their films, according to them if you want to make a film spoofing another you need not see the actual film but only it’s teaser trailer, because you get a little insight on what the film is going to be like and you can have it out as soon as the real film is out or even maybe sooner… yes you read that right, they don’t even watch or do research on the film their spoofing, just watching a minute half teaser trailer is more than enough according to them to make it a good spoof, how ridiculously dumb are they to even think that, aberrantly very severely from what I see after watching this train wreck of bad one liner jokers and poorly done spoofs, I mean their style of filmmaking is so idiotic that even someone who is blind, deaf and suffering with Mental retardation would look be a Steven Spielberg of movie making compared to these two idiots, but then again some could say that they do this deliberately on purpose because they make these movies on a budget that can be considered next to nothing compared to the amount of case they walk away with after each film, and how is this possible you might ask yourself, because they spoof any and everything connected to modern pop culture.

and by doing this they end up tricking a hug fallowing of teens and tweens into viewing their film which is why they make sure all their movies receive a PG-13 rating by the evil MPAA, so out of their viewing audience only a small handful will be returnees, but these two don’t and won’t care because by the time their next film is due out in theaters there will be a brand new set of na├»ve adolescents awaiting to see what will only disappoint all. I for one continue to see their films for one reason and one reason only which is the same reason I continue to see everything made by Uwe Boll, to judge these films to the most honest extent a film critic like myself can, and also because no matter how much I dislike filmmakers like these I feel everyone should (even though many will disagree) be given the benefit of the doubt. But still aside from that this film was so horrible that by calling it horrible actually is being kind to it, the film has no real plot, just a series of failed dick and fart jokes that basically go like this; dick joke dick joke fart joke fart joke, and repeat until film’s runtime is over, the whole film basically tries so hard to kick everything that has been in the mainstream eye in the last six nine mounts prier to its release and mash it all together as one movie, not to mention they do so in such a sad way that I actually feel a great deal of sympathy for the actors and actresses who had participated in this film, I mean the embarrassment for being in a film that is as mine numbingly stupid as this is beyond comprehension.

The story is about Writers/producers/directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (DATE MOVIE, EPIC MOVIE) use the film 300 as the basis for their latest spoof. Born to be the perfect Spartan, Leonidas (Magiure) faces numerous trials en route to becoming a man, including a face-off with the penguin from Happy Feet. Once he has proven himself, Leonidas not only becomes king, but also marries Margot (Electra). When Leonidas learns that Persia's King Xerxes (Davitian) plans to make Sparta his own, he has his captain (Sorbo) recruit Sparta's finest and prepares them for battle against invading Persian forces. Unfortunately, that amounts to only 13 half-naked men with painted-on abs who literally prance to their destination. To make matters worse, Spartan councilman Traitoro (Bader) is, well, a traitor. Still, Leonidas and his men face their enemy in battle, riffing on Stomp The Yard, Ghost Rider, Transformers, and numerous other films along the way, as well as the video game Grand Theft Auto. Freidberg and Seltzer poke fun at virtually every recent cultural phenomenon and pop culture personality, including Britney Spears, Kevin Federline, and Paris Hilton, Dancing With The Stars, American Idol, and Deal Or No Deal. Even Ugly Betty makes an appearance.

As for the acting, well, I don’t think I need to tell you that there isn’t anything here that I can honestly deem worthy of praising but for the sake of fairness here we go, for starters; Carmen Electra who in my opinion is nothing more than a pretty face with a body to flaunt around, and if it wasn’t for her sex appeal she would been just another piece of talentless garbage in Hollywood, who uses sex to gain attention, her acting was downright awful, it was like she didn’t even try to act. Sean Maguire was probably the only thing more horrible than Electra’s performance. Unlike her however he does act, problems is he over does it by a mile, what could have been vertically hilarious jokes turned into uncomfortable and rather embarrassing moments, even as a view I felt embarrassed just watching, so imagine how some of the actors felt acting in it. Though it was nice seeing actor Kevin Sorbo on the big screen again I can’t help but ask; is this what he’s been forced to resort to? I mean he was once the man back in the day, I myself grew up watching "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”, and it’s a real let down to see such a great actor such as him fall so greatly as to act in a film like this, in fact you could see that a part him thought the very same thing as he phoned in his lines on screen. Ken Davitian was horrible, the sad thing is I’ve seen him in quite a few movies now and I’ve always thought his acting was kind of good, but now I’ve lost some respect for the man after seeing this film. And for the record; any film that has Method Man in it is probably not going to be good at all.

Final Say: why oh why to people make such horrible films I’ll never understand, then again why do film companies allow such abominations such as the likes of this to even see the light of day? Seriously though, I have nothing personal against the film nor do I have a personal vendetta against the filmmakers, I am but a humble film critic that only judges to the full extent as a critic can and nothing more, I live to serve the people, and as your humble servant let me tell you; Meet The Spartans is not worth the money it took to make it, nor is it worth the time god gave each and every one of us on this earth, I highly DON’T recommend it, avoid at all cost.

Copyright 2008
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Review: Hancock (2008) [Reviewed By Clifford Kiyabu]

Directed by: Peter Berg
Written by: Vincent Ngo & Vince Gilligan
Genre: Action / Comedy / Drama
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and language.
Released: 2 July 2008 (USA)
Starring: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Jae Head, Eddie Marsan.

Plot: A hard-living superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public enters into a questionable relationship with the wife of the public relations professional who's trying to repair his image.

Review: 8/10

My Thoughts: What is a Hero, that is the question?, some would say a hero is someone who saves lives, however this is both true and false, a hero can be anyone doing just about anything in the eyes of those who have been saved and doesn’t always have to mean literally, a hero doesn’t always get the hero’s praise that they deserved, while others are worship for doing little or nothing at all but just simply being the hero in the eyes for some is all that’s needed, to be more general on the matter brings me to the subject of “Superheroes” who in most cases are always looked at as those who uphold the peace and justice for all, they are looked upon as pure do-gooders who are as good and pure in the light of divinity can be, some would even go as far as to say to be a true superhero is almost to be holy,

basically most are usually stereotyped into being like “Superman”, when referred to as “pure” or “do-gooder”, do not mistaken someone like “Batman” as a hero when making such an analyses because there is a huge difference between a superhero and a vigilantly when doing such, but I’m going over my head with this and swaying of course now [Laughs]. the conclusion to my explanation of the term “Superhero” comes boiling down to this; people never see their favorite hero when the chips are down, in fact most people won’t even give into even the slightest of thought of how they’re reaction would be to such a horrible thing, because to give into such a thought would be giving into the thought of defeat, and to acknowledge defeat of one’s hero is to be defeated yourself, which is why when the film Hancock came around my neck of the woods I couldn’t help but become extremely intrigued by the plot, because it was the first time I had seen, then alone heard of a movie in which the hero of the story is hated by those he saves. I mean here is a hero who at one point could very well have been the greats superhero this world has ever seen, but when he couldn’t be the hero people wanted, his image took a dive, and let me tell you; when he fell, he fell hard. And so with spending some many years of being in the gutter ridiculed and deride by the general public he turned to drinking fallowed by simply not caring anymore what the world thought of him or the people who needed saving, in other words this film was really a tale of a hero who needed saving for a change.

The plot is pretty much solid with the exception of a few plot errors here and there, I was amazed at how the fantastic the special effects was, it sure was a real spectacle treat I can tell you, and the film even carries some really good laughs as well as some very touching moments that will make even some of the coldest of hearts tear up, the only problem I had however was the lack of villains, with a film that has a superman like hero the villains come off as less then common thugs who luckily get the drop on our hero, however some will argue that the lack of villains is because the real villain is the one our hero must fight within himself to become a better person, either way I feel that if there is to be a sequel a villain with power that ether equals or at least come near to Hancock’s, also the other problem I had, but I don’t think of it as a problem, but as an awkward feeling during the film, see the film’s overall feel takes a dramatic change a few times, first the film starts of as you’re usual Will Smith action comedy, but then around the halfway point, the film’s overall feel takes a huge change and suddenly becomes more like a straight out drama than anything else with fewer and fewer laughs as the time role, however by the time it’s nearing to the ending the film takes a very dark tone, with it playing more to the seriousness than anything else and here is where people may find themselves tearing up a bit, however before the film can wrap up to credits it falls back into the light tone it started off with in the beginning, like I’ve stated, it’s not really a negative for the film, but more like a bold leap of fate, ultimately it proves as a somewhat plus for them taking such a risk, and for that I give the filmmakers kudos for doing such.

The Story is about; There are heroes... there are superheroes... and then there's Hancock (Will Smith). With great power comes great responsibility - everyone knows that - everyone, that is, but Hancock. Edgy, conflicted, sarcastic, and misunderstood, Hancock's well-intentioned heroics might get the job done and save lives of man, but always leaves a jaw-dropping trail of damage in their wake. The public has finally had enough - as grateful as they are to have their local hero, the good citizens of Los Angeles are wondering what they ever did to deserve this guy. Hancock isn't the kind of man who cares what other people think - until the day that he saves the life of PR executive Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), and the sardonic superhero begins to realize that he may have a vulnerable side after all. Facing that will be Hancock's greatest challenge yet - and a task that may prove impossible as Ray's wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), insists that he's a lost cause, but never the less the fight to fix a broken hero will prove to be a fight both Hancock and Ray will have to face.

As for the acting, I don’t think I have to tell you that Will Smith was fantastic, like all his film he gives a 110% of his talent to the movie, which is a rare thing now days as most actor don’t usually give it their all in every film they shoot, some will give their talents to some films and then just phone it in for the rest of the time, but not Smith, who is simply amazing, he can make you laugh and when you least suspect it, cry. Jason Bateman who sadly I must say I am not a huge fan of, was, OK, he did an ok job but I honestly don’t see the hype some have for him as I find his style a little dry for my taste, it’s nothing personal as I’ve seen may interviews of him and he seems like a pretty nice guy, but for the life of me I can’t take in his performance without feeling a little nauseated after. Charlize Theron was wonderfully great; I must say I don’t really fancy her as much as other actresses when it comes to acting because I find her acting to be a little too ordinary, but she really came out in this one that even caught my eye; her chemistry with both Smith and Bateman was simply amazing and felt quite authentic, it was like watching a group of old friends having a world of time together and even more so breathless at times. Eddie Marsan who more or less portrayed the villain in this film did great; he did a nice job making you want to hate him as the bad guy.

Final Say: Hancock was a really good film, and even though it carries a few errors you can’t help but ask what films don’t in these times? Either way I had a magnificent time viewing it, it’s well worth taking a look see especially if you’re a will smith fan, then this is a must see, Hancock it defiantly a film I’d like to take another viewing soon, if you’re in the mood for a good film with laughs, mystery, nice FX and some very touching moments then I recommend Hancock!

Copyright 2008
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Review: Tropic Thunder (2008) [Reviewed By Clifford Kiyabu]

Directed by: Ben Stiller
Written by: Ben Stiller & Justin Theroux
Genre: Action / Adventure / Comedy
MPAA: Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, violent content and drug material.
Released: 13 August 2008 (USA)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Jay Baruchel, Nick Nolte, Brandon T. Jackson, Steve Coogan, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Cruise.

Plot: Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.

Review: 9/10

My Thoughts: Summer films are always known to be the films with the biggest of budget and usually the most anticipated of the bunch, which is why summer is known as the “POPCORN SESSION” for Movies, but with high anticipation also comes disappointment, many of the films never quite live up to the hype that is driven by it from moviegoers, but I must say that summer 2008 has been kind to me with an almost flawless summer for me, with great films like; The Incredible Hulk, Kung Fu Panda, Wanted, WALL·E, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Hancock, The Dark Knight, and now Tropic Thunder, this has got to be one of the best summer for me and movies in a really long time, never have I had such a great time with so many great films and so little bad ones, it’s just so unbelievable and it true, any true moviegoer like myself will tell you this, and will remember summer 2008 as a dream come true for going to the movies.

Tropic Thunder is the type of spoof film I’ve been waiting for a long time, ever since the fall of good spoof films in the late 1990’s it has become pretty bad for this particular genre with little or no hope in site, however, that is until Tropic Thunder came out, and let me tell you, I knew it was going to be a fun film to watch, however I didn’t expect it to be this fun, I was caught by surprise by the fake trailers presented before the actual film starts, I was laughing so hard I was dam near in tears, and that’s technically not even the film yet, and just when I though I couldn’t laugh any harder than I did, the film started to play, then that did it. I spent the entire time trying to catch my breath due to how hilarious the film was, I believe my eyes, the film basically is a great big spoof on Hollywood, but done right for a change, not to mention it look like about half of Hollywood showed up to be in the film, whit so many cameos left and right, I was left in awe, the film is greatly entertaining for both the action fans as well as those looking for a day full of laughter, the plot is outrageously fantastic.

I was amazed at how well written it was, given you a strong plot that doesn’t give up for a single moment, and so many memorable moments that it’s a film that will stick with you long after you’ve seen it, one scene in particular is a scene which involves Jack Black’s characters tide to a tree, and in an attempt to get someone to free him he offers a perform oral sex on whoever frees him, “I'll Cradle The Balls, Stroke The Shaft, Work The Pipe And, Shallow The Gravy!.” You can imagine just how shocked the audience was by hearing that, the entire room laughed so hard that it could be heard from outside the theater room, [Laughs], With all the action, all the laughs, this is easily the best comedy of 2008, and probably one of the best of the last ten years or so, the plot which is written by Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen is so fantastic that I’m convinced it’s a piece of pure genus, and with the cameos of so many of Hollywood’s A-listers you can’t go wrong, to sum it all into a much simpler terms; if Rambo, Platoon, Apocalypse Now and Zoolander had a wild orgy, Tropic Thunder would be its offspring, I seriously did not think I would have this much of a good time watching a Ben Stiller film, I most certainly will be looking forword to his next project!

The story is about a group of self-absorbed actors set out to make the most expensive war film. But after ballooning costs force the studio to cancel the movie, the frustrated director refuses to stop shooting, leading his cast into the jungles of Southeast Asia, where they encounter real bad guys.

As for the acting; Ben Stiller is outstanding, though at times his performance can be seen as unoriginal he still manages to give a few surprises that are very much enjoyable. Jack Black was fantastic, much like Ben Stiller; there are many moviegoers that don’t care for his out of control style brand of comedy, however rest assure that in this film he does hold some of it back for when it is needed, and let me tell you when the time calls for it, he sure has heck brings it! However the real attraction in this film is none other than Robert Downey Jr. who I cannot tell you in any way possible that will give it the justice he so greatly deserves, his performance is nothing short of magnificent! I found myself at time wanting to see him more on screen than any of his co-stars, to be completely honest it’s just something you’d have to see for yourself to understand, I knew he could act, but damn I didn’t know he could ACT! This is without a doubt one of his best. Brandon T. Jackson was awesomeness all around, as playing Alpa Chino the only black man in the movie they’re making in the movie, his chemistry with Robert Downey Jr.’s character, Kirk Lazarus who is a white guy playing the only black sergeant in the film works magnificently well together for an army of racially based jokes that will have everyone laughing, Jackson has a bright future ahead of him I can tell you. Jay Baruchel who is no stranger to the business has always played second string and often left in the back, however this time around he stands in the back no more; he stands besides the great actors of this film and proves his worth. Funny man Steve Coogan who is well known overseas but not so much here in the states has really made himself know this year with Hamlet 2, and now Tropic Thunder, though his role his small, much like a well oiled machine he is as much of an important component to the film to make it work. Nick Nolte was a real treat, I knew right off from the start his part was going to be pretty hilarious, just didn’t think it would be as hilarious as it turned out to be which I can tell you is a big plus in my book! Matthew McConaughey was great! And at the same time I felt at odds with him, because as most of you know he’s one to always take lead role in a film and never second string, but surprised ,e with this role and did exactly what I didn’t think he’d do and manages to rock the hell out of that role as well! And last but not least; Tom Cruise was, well, shocking! Don’t think for one moment that you know the guy when it comes to his style of acting, he goes way off his usual stuff with this role, and rather you like him or not this is a must see for Cruise lovers and haters alike.

Final Say: Overall I had one badass time watching Tropic Thunder, it (in my opinion) has got to be the best spoof film I’ve seen in well over ten years, it reminded me of the old spoof films of the 70’s and 80’s, which is a nice change of pace for once, I mean with all the crap Hollywood has flushed out over the years I didn’t think such a film like this would ever be possible, but now I see there is still some hope left in the world, and here’s to hoping for more films like this in the near future. I highly recommend it!

Copyright 2008
All Rights Reserved