Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
The Campaign - Still in theaters. 4/5 stars
Starring Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis
Sometimes, when Hollywood puts more than one hilarious, absurd and crude actor in a single film, it flops. It tries too hard, reaches for too many laughs and fails. This was NOT the case with The Campaign. Ferrell and Galifianakis each bring hilarious characters to the movie, but they balance each other out instead of outshining one another.
Ferrell plays Republican Congressman Cam Brady, who is running for office—again—unopposed. But one ill-placed phone call (he leaves a sexy voice mail for an unsuspecting ultra-religious family) makes the prospect of his securing the ballot not so sure, after all. Enter Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), a pug-loving city tour guide with a high-pitched Southern accent and a wardrobe full of sweaters. With the support of two malicious wealthy men, Marty runs a campaign against long-serving Brady.
The hilarity of campaign parody—over-the-top smear ads, backhanded plots for power—is balanced with oddball characters and a well-timed message for the voting public.
Ferrell and Galifianakis shine in this comedy with poop jokes and ease, but Marty’s chubby wife, Misti (Sarah Baker) steals the show with a ridiculous dinner-table confession and a misused sex tape.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Dark Shadows - Available to rent in October. 3/5 stars
Starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfieffer, Helena Bonham Carter
Dark Shadows is a play on the 1960s sitcom of the same name, but it’s not all laughs. Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a vampire who rises from the grave after 200 years of imprisonment. Depp applies his usual antics—pale skin, dark hair, a sniveling upper lip and a faint accent—to play the vampire, who sets to help his descendant, Elizabeth (Pfieffer) save her family fishing company.
Bonham Carter sheds her usual dark drab and demeanor to play alcoholic psychologist Julia Hoffman. Julia doles out advice between sips of bourbon, and eventually develops more than a scientific curiosity towards the pale newcomer. Bonham Carter brings her usual brilliance to an otherwise drab film.
Balancing dark and light, the film is bubbly and very hippie. Set in the 60s to the tunes of classic rock, Dark Shadows tries to keep things fun with a vampire-on-witch sex scene and a tripped-out daughter (Chloe Moretz). It’s a slow-moving film, and leaves an open ending for a sequel that won’t be worth seeing.
Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
Men in Black 3 - available for pre-order on Amazon. 5/5 stars
Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin
This review may be slightly biased because I have grown up loving the Men In Black (MIB) films. But truly, the third installment does not disappoint. When most movie sequels run dry by the third go-around, MIB stays strong with the phenomenal Smith as Agent J.
The film opens with a seriously creepy alien breaking out of a prison on the moon. He immediately sets out to kill the man who put him there--the venerable Agent K (Lee Jones). Agent J, a now-expert alien spy, realizes the freaky dude is going back in time to stop his arrest and off Agent K, so he also jumps the time line to try to save his boss. Back in time, Agent J runs into a younger version of K, and learns a little more about his sad past.
MIB III hits the mark, and I wouldn’t say no to a fourth movie. The adventure, CGI effects, humor and heart of the first two are all in this film—with an emphasis on the heart. My eyes may not have been completely dry at the end of the movie, and I left feeling happy I spent $10 on an actual great movie.
Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.
Brave - still in theaters. 2/5 stars
Starring Kelly MacDonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson
I was extremely hyped for Brave. Disney Pixar has churned out a slew of awesome blockbusters, including Monsters, Inc., Toy Story and Up. This Pixar film failed to deliver.
Brave starts out strong. Set in beautiful Scotland, the movie is the story of Princess Merla (MacDonald), the young and very loved daughter of King Fergus (Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Thompson). The royal parents decide it is time for her to wed, and set up an athletic challenge for the most eligible bachelors from surrounding kingdoms. Merla is allowed to choose what event the boys must participate in to win her heart, and she picks archery, her favorite pastime.
As to be expected, Merla takes a courageous stand and fights for her fate by participating in the archery competition to win her own heart…and she wins. That alone could have been a movie by elongating the competition with different athletic events, but the archery is concluded a mere 40 minutes or so into the film.
From there on out, the movie gets off course. Merla’s mother will have none of this “choose my own destiny” garble, and the princess seeks the help of a tricky old witch. She buys a magical pastry meant to help her mom see the light. Something goes terribly wrong, and the queen ends up as a bear.
What follows is a long, dwindling daughter-and-bear plot. I was misty-eyed by the end of it (you’ll learn I cry at almost anything on-screen) but it was hardly worth the trip to the theater. The saving graces were the amazing landscape visuals, the main character’s three mischievous brothers and the over-the-top families from neighboring kingdoms.
The movies that got away!
Still on my to-see list are Mad Mike, The Watch, What to Expect When You’re Expecting and The Dictator.
Did you see any of the movies I discussed—or the ones I missed out on? Which did you love? Which was a waste of time? Tell me in a comment below!blog comments powered by Disqus