Category: Flicks

Movies. Probably new ones, maybe old ones. Never bad ones, unless they need mocking or you need a warning.

Jonesy’s Random Movie Review #1

I’m hoping that this new segment is both entertaining and intriguing enough to bring back volume to the Thirdand7 family. It’s proven to be a little more difficult than I imagined to keep content flowing, but I’m hoping to make this a weekly edition.

For Christmas in 2010 I received Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, where he provides reviews and ratings on more than 17,000 movies. Now the fact that this man has seen 17,000 movies is amazing itself. I’m going to randomly select a movie from his collection and provide my own review (if I’ve seen it of course). Today’s Entry:

Bubba Ho-Tep: (2002) Starring: Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis
Chances are you probably have never even heard of this movie. Chances are you’d also never think about watching this movie. It’s a B Movie to the fullest. The plot is hokey, the stars are C-List to most people, and there was little to no promotion from the studio. To a film buff, Bruce Campbell is a God. He is THE greatest cult actor of all time, starring in The Evil Dead Trilogy and numerous other low-budget movies and TV shows. In Bubba Ho-Tep, Bruce stars as an elderly Elvis Presley who has been hiding in an old folks home for years. His only friend is John F. Kennedy (Ossie Smith), a black man who claims to be the murdered President; as part of the cover up, the government died him brown. As you can tell from that setup, this movie is not playing in the realm of reality.

Here’s the best part: while living at the old folks home, people start dying, which to the normal person does not appear to be a big deal as most residents are on their deathbed. But to Elvis and JFK, they notice that the deaths are not what they appear to be; they are in fact murder. The duo discover that an ancient mummy has been resurrected from the nearby museum and has stumbled upon the retirement community. Elvis and JFK are the only two people who can stop the mummy and put an end to it’s murderous ways.

The movie is hokey beyond belief, but it’s the rapport of Campbell and Davis that saves the film. With other actors, the characters could have simply been thrown up on the screen in a slapstick way. Campbell fully embodies Elvis and breathes humor and honesty into his role. Davis is so convincing as JFK, that you actually believe his story of being the tortured President. In the end, you are right by their side, rooting for them to pull off the impossible.

Leonard Maltin’s Grade: B
Jonesy’s Grade: C+

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In Cinemas: The Hunger Games

First Things First- THIS IS NOT TWILIGHT. THIS IS NOTHING LIKE TWILIGHT. IF YOU THINK THIS IS TWILIGHT YOU ARE AN IGNORANT HUMAN BEING.

Okay. Yes this is a movie based on a Young Adult novel series; but it’s not a sappy love triangle story between fictional creatures. The Hunger Games is a story about a girl leading a rebellion against a corrupt capital regime who just so happens to have 2 boys in love with her. In my opinion, and since it’s my blog post it doesn’t matter, The Hunger Games has more in common with Braveheart than Twilight. Yeah, I just said it.

The last fiction book I read was…I couldn’t even tell you. But once I discovered The Hunger Games, I read all 3 in 2 months, which is like a miracle for me. Did I read it simply because I knew there was a movie coming out? Probably, but I sure am glad I did. The film version is absolutely faithful to the book, with some minor omissions and additions that help move the story along. First off, Jennifer Lawrence is my new crush; she can throw me around any day. There is no other actress in Hollywood that could have played Katniss, that’s an absolute fact. She completely embodies the character from the pages and brings the exact amount of sincerity and roughness needed for The Girl On Fire. In terms of the other casting, I’m a big Josh Hutcherson fan; I’m not even sure why. I think he was perfectly cast as Peeta. Baby Hemsworth (Liam, Thor’s Brother) is sufficient as Gale in the 10 mins of screen time he has in volume 1. Woody Harrelson is a decent Haymitch, the drunken sole victor from District 12.

If you don’t know about the Hunger Games, then you probably don’t care about this review or even seeing it. Everyone I’ve talked to that saw the film loved it. This is an action movie. It’s a movie about kids being forced to kill each other in a televised event for the enjoyment of their government. It’s a minor love story, in between Tracker Jackers and Muttations. I cannot wait for Catching Fire, December 2013.

Overall Grade: A-

In Cinemas: Chronicle

Let me tell you about the best under the radar film I’ve ever seen. Chronicle is that movie.

6 months ago nobody knew about this “found footage” superhero movie set in little old Seattle, WA. Now, Chronicle has captured the attention of geeks and critics alike, so much so that Entertainment Weekly gave it an A-. After seeing Chronicle today, I completely agree with the grading.

Chronicle is the unlikely story of 3 high school students stumbling upon an alien-like artifact in the woods. That interaction gives them telekinetic powers that allow them to move objects with their minds. Eventually they hone their skills to the point where they obtain the ability to fly. There is a fantastic sequence where the guys play a game of catch in the clouds. The “found footage” aspect is helped greatly by this gift, as the camera is treated as an object that can be controlled by their mind.

I’m not gonna go too much into the details of the plot, because I think the mystery of it all is one of the great aspects that make the film work. The special effects are fantastic and blend in with the real world action so well that you believe what you are seeing. Chronicle is by far the best surprise in years.

Overall Grade: A-

In Cinemas: The Adventures of Tintin

 It’s no secret that many Americans thought this movie was about a K-9 Cop. Tintin is not a well known character in the States; but he’s huge in Europe.

 Steven Speilberg and Peter Jackson have joined forces to bring the pointy-haired ginger to the big screen using motion-capture technology: fancy word for animation. There are many behind the scene aspects of this film that intrigued me to begin with: Speilberg/Jackson connection, Screenplay by Edgar Wright/Joe Cornish (The team behind Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz), the cast which includes Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

 I’m not an advocate for 3D, in my opinion it’s only been done correctly 2 times: Avatar and Tintin. After the first 10 minutes of the film you forget that you’re watching what is essentially a 3D CGI film. The animation is amazing, the action sequences are seemless and the story is reminiscent of Indiana Jones. There is one sequence in particular that was just mesmerizing: the downhill motorcycle escape captured in 1 tracking shot.

The Adventures of Tintin blew me away, it probably helped that my expectations were not insanely high for the film. As loyal readers already know, I have named Tintin my 3rd Favorite Film of 2011. Definately worth seeing.

Overall Grade: B+

In Cinemas: Machine Gun Preacher

Today marked only the second time I have gone to a screening of a film held by the movie studio; this time the film is already out in select theaters so my thought process leads me to believe that the studio is holding free screenings in order to generate better word of mouth reviews.

Machine Gun Preacher sounds like it should be directed by Robert Rodriguez as part of another Grindhouse film collection. However, Machine Gun Preacher is based on the true life story of Sam Childers. Sam, a former druggie/criminal, finds God and realizes he has a purpose in life: to save the children of East Africa. The film chronicles his struggle to build an orphanage against the continuous attacks of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). During his journey, Sam is forced to balance his fight to end the terror of the LRA and keeping his family intact.

Gerard Butler stars as Sam and while I was originally confused by the choice over the course of the 2 hour running time he becomes Sam. I would confirm that this is his strongest performance to date, but honestly there isn’t much to compare it to in terms of Academy Award caliber. While I enjoyed his performance, I couldn’t help but feel like he was playing Russell Crowe playing Sam Childers.

The film is powerful to say the least. The depiction of how a country can be terrorized by a man and an army is very disturbing. Families are murdered in front of their children and the children are kidnapped and forced into a world where killing is the only option. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone could stand by and let the LRA continue to reign terror on Africa. I understand that there are diplomatic issues, but you’d think the USA could round up some of their best criminals and send them over to kill the sons of bitches. Just my opinion.

Overall Grade: C

In Cinemas…The Change Up

Unlike previous reviews in my collection, I’m going to start this one off first with giving you the grade of the film immediately after walking out the theater.

Grade: B-

As I stepped out of Regal Supermall 17 I turned to my cousin and said: “Well that was better than I expected it to be. And holy balls is Olivia Wilde hot.”

The film is a total cliche along the lines of any body-switch film that came before it. Two people with completely different lives end up switching bodies by some magical twist of fate. The two people start to learn things about themselves that they don’t quite like, realizing that in the end they must change who they are to protect those that they love. “The Change Up” follows this recipe to the T. Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman are totally living it up playing against their normal typecasting. The film is funny, it has moments that make you LOL (sorry) and tries to capitalize on some gross out comedy that doesn’t quite work. As mentioned above, Olivia Wilde is in this film. You might know her from recent star turns in “Tron Legacy” and “Cowboys & Aliens”. The best part of this movie upon reflection, was Olivia Wilde getting topless. I know what you’re thinking, is Jonesy now reverting back to his 16 year old self. Nay. There are not many name actresses, especially hot ones, that get naked for the arts anymore. Now after 24 hours of letting it sit, here’s my final grade.

Final Grade: F

This review could actually turn into an opinion piece based on the information I just read. I knew as I was sitting in the theater that Leslie Mann’s topless scenes were not kosher. They digitally put boobs on her in 2 scenes that in my opinion were not even necessary to the movie. This was quite the revelation for me; studios are now using CGI for evil. My heart was broken when I heard that Olivia Wilde also confirmed on Jimmy Kimmell that the best scene in the movie was also indeed altered using CGI. I’m speechless.

What kind of world do we live in, where the great technology we created has now been turned into a device of evil, preventing myself and other horndogs from being able to enjoy the wonder that is R-Rated Comedy Nudity.

In Cinemas…Captain America: The First Avenger

Prior to Saturday July 23rd, 2011, I had watched 1,999 movies in theaters, on VHS/DVD and on TV. It was quite the momentous occasion and fate so happened to place Captain America as my special 2K.

Now growing up I was a geeky kid, but the majority of that geekiness was in the movie world. I loved Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters: all of which were not really created in the comic book world. The comics I remember reading were mostly relegated to Ninja Turtles or X-Men. So while most fanboys have been living in anticipation of the motion picture births of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, I only garnered interest due to the recent cinematic transfer.

Captain America is Chris Evans, without a doubt. There is nobody else I could see in the role; which of course I can say with confidence since he’s the only viable candidate. Evans fully embodies Steve Rogers/Captain America. As the weak Steve Rogers, Evans portrays the perfect underdog that gets all the support of the audience. And once the once weak Rogers becomes the mighty Captain America, Evans showcases his athleticism and charm with great ease. In supporting roles: Hugo Weaving is fantastic as Red Skull- Captain’s arch nemesis; Haley Atwell is gorgeous as the love interest (New addition to my Top 5); Tommy Lee Jones looks old but has some of the best one-liners as a General. Directed by Joe Johnston, who created one of my favorite movies from childhood The Rocketeer, does an excellent job of capturing the feel and era of Captain America’s origin story. The film is fast paced, spiced with action and humor and really builds on itself over the course of 2 hours. If you’re seeing this movie with anticipation than you already know to stay after the credits, but if you’re a newbie just a hint to see something AMAZING.

Overall Grade: B