Friday, August 24, 2012

30 Second Reviews: The Three Stooges (B+), Step Up Revolution (C+), Peace Love and Misunderstanding (D+), and To Rome With Love (B)

The Three Stooges

In, by far, one of the biggest surprises of the year, the Farrelly brothers have challenged the generally mediocre "modern day update of a classic" mold with their hilarious revival of the classic comedy troupe, The Three Stooges. Capturing the magic of what made the original shorts work so well, Sean Hays, Chris Diamantopoulos, and especially former MMA fighter Will Sasso as Curley, give almost pitch perfect performances by not only replicating the stooges' slapstick mannerisms, and in many cases building upon them. The plot is relatively simple: When Moe, Larry, and Curley's childhood orphanage goes under foreclosure, the gang must go to the big city to find the funds to pay the bank back. We already know the ending in advance, but the lack of suspense doesn't dilute the enjoyment in the least. The Three Stooges is by far one of the funniest, most entertaining movies of the year so far, with enough nynucks for a lifetime: It's the rare example of a seemingly unnecessary remake done right.

Grade: B+

Thursday, August 23, 2012

360 (B-)

More of a visualized connect-the-dots puzzle than a conventional linear feature film, director Fernando Meirelles (City of God) and writer Peter Morgan's (The Last King of Scotland) globe trotting drama examines the consequences and repercussions love has on our personal lives, and in ways we'd never expect in the lives of others. Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Anthony Hopkins, and Ben Foster are part of a wide ranging eclectic cast, with each character vaguely connected to the other in a series of vignettes of how one person's love in one story influences another character's life in the next. As the film progresses, and we move from short story to short story, Meirelles and Morgan eventually bring the narrative full circle; tying the later players back to those featured in the beginning. It's a risky endeavor to compose any feature as ambitious as this, but most involved seem up for the challenge. However, being willing to fully commit to such a possibly burdensome project, and the ability to execute it with success is a different ballpark all together.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Breakfast with Curtis (C)

(Breakfast with Curtis was shown as part of the Rhode Island International Film Festival)

They're few movies that I've desperately wanted to enjoy more than Rhode Island director Laura Colella's community based comedy Breakfast with Curtis, a movie about the generally easygoing relationship between two affable neighboring homes; one a large purple house filled with pot smoking eccentrics, and the other a now reformed hippie couple with an extremely awkward 14 year old son. There isn't any conflict or danger involved, no sudden twists, or any real plot. In fact, only for a single shot does Colella show the world outside the friendly block. It's the cinematic equivalent of sitting out on the porch on a hot day, and drinking a nice glass of cool lemonade. For the relatively short 84 minute runtime, you're simply relaxing with some quirky, newly found friends. And while I certainly enjoyed their company, once the film ends, you're unfortunately left with the mediocre feeling of "That's it?".

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Babymakers (C+)

If someone had traveled back in time to five days ago before I watched Jay Chandrasekhar's crudely comedic sperm bank heist flick, and informed me that not only I find the film to be a pleasant surprise, but would also find it whole heartedly enjoyable, I probably would've written them off as crazy in an instant. An entire movie based off a single bodily fluid couldn't possibly work, especially if directed by the same man whose other major directing credit belongs to the 2005 Johnny Knoxville/Seann William Scott reboot The Dukes of Hazard. Currently residing with an abysmal 8% on the usually reliable Rotten Tomatoes, The Babymakers is an almost universally hated: An endless spree of raunchy, unfunny gags which nonexistent connective tissue to hold it all together. Yet, despite all the warning signs involved, while admittedly flawed, I found it to be a frequently hilarious unanticipated treat.