Friday, August 20, 2010

Movie Review: "The Other Guys"

5. "The Other Guys" is very funny — maybe the funniest movie of the year and Will Ferrell's best comedy since the terrific "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" — but the flick works on another level: It's a buddy cop send-up that happens to be the best buddy cop movie since "Lethal Weapon."

4. Ferrell plays a mild forensic accountant with a dark side partnered with Mark "Third Nipple" Wahlberg, a talented-but-angry detective who yearns for action and glory but his held by the career-limiting move of accidentally (but quite hilariously) shooting Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter before the seventh game of the World Series.

3. Both Ferrell's and Wahlberg's characters are overshadowed by flashy caricatures of muscled action heroes, played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson, who do all the things cop pals do in action movies — go on high-speed chases, wreck vintage sports cars, blow stuff up and shoot guns with great abandon — while Ferrell and Wahlberg tool around in Ferrell's Toyota Prius and investigate scaffolding permit violations.

2. "Guys" delivers the dead-pan cherubic worldview Ferrell does so well, though more restrained than some of his on-screen incarnations, while also providing a sly, stinging critique our decade-long economic woes and the greed and stupidity that led us here.

1. Another hidden gem is the closing credits, which provide a series of animated graphics about corporate greed that would almost be funny if they weren't so true.

"The Other Guys"
Run time:
1 hour, 47 minutes
Rated PG-13‎‎
Genre: Comedy‎
Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton and Dwayne Johnson
Finney's Flicks Grade: A

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Movie Review: "The Girl Who Played With Fire"

5. "The Girl Who Played With Fire" is everything it's predecessor, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," was not: boring, cliched and unsatisfying.

4. "Fire" picks up a year after "Tattoo" and finds the enemies of Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Raplace) closing in on her and investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) trying to rescue her while publishing a blockbuster investigation.

3. "Fire" takes Lisbeth's admirable ferocity from "Tattoo" and downgrades it to "The Girl Who Punched Guys In The Crotch With A Stun Gun" and Blomkvist's believable-but-flawed journalistic integrity into sensationalistic probes into the Russian white slave trade ties in Sweeden.

2. It's the kind of plot one might expect from the evil offspring of a James Bond film and a Lifetime movie of the week — "Fire" comes complete with a Bond-esque villian ("a blond tank as one character describes him") that would make Sharky grimmace and a twisted family history with an obvious "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" reveals and a "Kill Bill 2" moment to boot.

1. "Fire" would be fine if it were a Bond movie, but it seems contrived and even silly dovetailed agains "Tattoo" and hardly serves as an invitation to see the final chapter in author Stieg Larsson's bestselling Millennium trilogy.

"The Girl Who Played With Fire"
Run time: 2 hours, 9 minutes
Rated R
Genre: Suspense-Thriller-Drama‎ -
Director: Daniel Alfredson
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre, Georgi Staykov and Sofia Ledarp
Finney's Flicks Grade: C

Movie Review: "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"

5. "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" is like going to a convenience store fountain and filling a Big Gulp cup with every flavor of soft drink available — what kids in my day called "suicides" — it seems like a good idea until you start drinking it.

4. This movie is what the kids these days call a mash-up: a mix of romantic comedy, video game action and comic book imagery — it sounds cool until you watch it.

3. Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a wimpy dork who plays bass in a whiny 20-something band and falls in love with a girl with issues and bad hair (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), but before their relationship can be consummated, he must defeat in video game-style battle her seven evil exes.

2. The visuals are at times stunning (this might be the most special effects in a romantic comedy ever), but like even the best video games, the action becomes repetitive and tedious (once youv'e seen one guy burst into coins after getting killed, you've seen them all).

1. The biggest problem with "Pilgrim" is the people: Winstead is wooden and uninteresting, Cera is that same guy he always plays and by the end of it all, I didn't really care whether they got together I was just looking to turn the PlayStation off.

"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"
Run time: 1 hour, 53 minutes
Rated PG-13‎‎
Genre: Action-Adventure‎
Director: Edgar Wright
Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans and Anna Kendrick
Finney's Flicks Rating: C

Movie Review: "The Expendables"

5. "The Expendables" is like watching Mike Ditka erectile dysfunction TV commercials: You're vaguely aware old people have sexual relations (or starred in action films), but you really didn't want to be reminded of it.

4. I credit Sylvester Stallone with squeezing one more good story each out of the "Rocky" and "Rambo" franchises — both 21st century sequels were the best since the respective series began — but his effort in "Expendables" fails to inflate the 1980's era of shoot-'em-up action flicks it attempts to pay homage.

3. Like most all-star gatherings, whether they be in sport or film, the spectacle suffers from trying to give everybody enough screen time to justify their paychecks.

2. In the case of "The Expendables," it lengthens a movie that would have been OK at 90 minutes but seems lethargic at 103 minutes —which may be what Ditka had in mind for Levitra commercials, but it doesn't mean it's any more fun for the audience.

1. My nostalgia for this genre of films knows no bounds — I own "Cobra" on DVD for crying out loud — but I left the theater feeling a great swell of indifference, which I took as either a sign I've grown up since I spent my dad's money to see "Tango and Cash" or this movie just isn't as fun as it should have been.

"The Expendables"
Run time: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Rated R
Genre: Action-Adventure
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture and Steve Austin
Finney's Flicks Grade: C-

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