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Saturday, July 30, 2011

It’s No Easy Task Being ‘The Devil’s Double’

The Devil’s Double:  3 1/2 out of 5
Uday:  You will have everything you want.  Everything I own will belong to you.
The idea of having a body double living your life with you, let alone taking your place when you would desire it is interesting.  The subject matter presented in The Devil's Double takes it to the extreme, as the son of Saddam Hussein makes the life of his lookalike a living hell, which is fitting, given the title of the film. It makes it more intriguing that the film is based on a true story, which could be seen as a sexed and violenced up version, but still fits the bill of an intensely told tale, where a man is in quite the struggle to do what is right, despite being the representative for a man who is quite evil.  The film is much stronger, thanks to its lead actor in a dual performance.  While it only borders on greatness, the film is still a solid, if intense depiction of the life of the double for the devil.

‘Cowboys & Aliens’ Is One Rootin’ Tootin’ Genre Mash-Up


Cowboys & Aliens = 2 ½ out of 5
Jake Lonergan:  I woke up in the desert like I’ve been dropped out of the sky.
For a movie titled ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ to play itself completely straight, it sure does come off as awful silly in many instances.  More importantly, the film comes off as very dull in many instances, which is quite unfortunate.  Despite having a big name cast, big name producers, a big name director, and eight credited writers, not much beyond having both cowboys and aliens in the same movie was done to make it more enjoyable.  I was hoping it could deliver, as this film was one of my most anticipated of the summer; however, it lacks anything beyond the strength of a good high concept.  There is no real pulse here and beyond seeing James Bond and Indiana Jones in the same movie, neither of them leaves any real impact, which is unfortunate.  The film does have a strong setup and there are brief moments of fun, but overall, this film doesn’t quite lasso itself a win.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

See A Bunch of Stars Fall In ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’


Crazy, Stupid, Love. = 3 ½ out of 5
Cal’s Boss:  You’re getting a divorce?
Cal:  Yeah.
Cal’s Boss:  Amy heard you crying in the bathroom.  We all thought it was cancer.
Cal:  Oh…
Cal’s Boss:  Thank god, man!
Cal: No, just my relationship.
With several weeks’ worth of action films out of the way, it is now time to step back into the realm of romantic entanglements involving a lot of attractive people dealing with the complications of maintaining relationships.  Crazy, Stupid, Love benefits from having a lot of very good actors dealing with mostly solid material, while bringing forward the qualities that make these people likable to begin with.  It is unfortunate that the movie does not pull its weight all the way to the end, sacrificing its knowing sense of irony in favor of a more clichéd and sitcom-like finale.  Regardless, audiences can still be treated to watching an endearing cast wade through familiar, yet fun material, as they act a little crazy and a little stupid for the sake of love.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Out Now with Aaron and Abe – Episode 19: Captain America: The First Avenger and San Diego Comic Con 2011

Greetings True Believers! And welcome to episode 19 of Out Now with Aaron and Abe, the episode that marks the transition into iTunes!  This week, as the title suggests, our heroes discuss Captain America: The First AvengerThe arrival of this latest Marvel adventure could not have come at a greater time, as the episode was literally recorded hours after Aaron has returned from a five-day long trip to San Diego for Comic Con, which is also discussed at length in place of games for this week.  To help Aaron and Abe discuss both the film and Comic Con, the special guest for the week is the creator/writer/editor of Why So Blu, Brian White.  The regular segments of the show continue as well, beginning with some fun times getting to know our guest (which includes talk of Brian’s upcoming film, Amy), followed by trailer talk, wherein the group discusses trailers for The Amazing Spider-Man and Hugo.  The rest of the show does feature box office results and predictions, a retro review segment as well, but is then followed by a lengthy discussion of all things Comic Con.  Of course, in addition to this episode, there are many more episodes to be found on iTunes, as well as on the new hosted site The HHWLOD Podcast Network, and outnow.podomatic.com.  One can also learn more at the official Facebook page for Out Now, facebook.com/outnowpodcast (“like” it), which also features updates from Aaron and Abe’s personal blogs and other frequent posts, as well as a brand new logo for the show, in many different flavors!  Finally, feel free to e-mail the show at outnowpodcast@gmail.com with any sort of feedback. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

'Captain America’ Has A Star-Spangled Adventure



Captain America: The First Avenger = 4 out of 5
Col. Chester Phillips: General Patton has said that wars are fought with weapons but are won by men. Our goal is to create the greatest army in history. But every army begins with one man. He will be the first in a new breed of super-soldier. We are going to win this war because we have the best men. And they, personally, will escort Adolf Hitler to the gates of Hell.
2011 has been a great year for Marvel characters.  Thor turned out to be a lot more fun than many thought and X-Men: First Class was a slick return to form for the mutant lot.  Now it is time for the first Avenger to get his due, as Marvel Studios, director Joe Johnston, and star Chris Evans have all worked hard to introduce the shield wielding super-soldier, first created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby back in 1941.  With a lot of credit going to the retro look and feel of the film, Captain America has turned out to be an incredibly fun action film and a suitable lead in to The Avengers, which will bring many of these Marvel characters together in one film in summer 2012.  Still, for the time being, it is a safe bet to join Captain America in the fight against the Axis powers and the dreaded Hydra.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Out Now with Aaron and Abe – Episode 18: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2


This week's episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is full of all kinds of wizardry, as Aaron and Abe discuss Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.  The eight and final part of this massive franchise that has spanned a decade has finally arrived in film form, and of course Aaron and Abe are up to the task of speaking at length about the film.  Joining the duo for this discussion is film critic and box office pundit of sorts, Scott Mendelson (Mendelson's Memos and The Huffington Post), who helps to provide some interesting thoughts on the film, the franchise, and even a lengthier than average take on the box office results.  Of course the episode still contains its other regular segments as well, including trailer talk, where the group discusses the new trailers for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and The Dark Knight Rises.  They also follow up with box office talk, retro reviews, and game time.  The whole show is pretty much devoted to Harry Potter, with perspectives from both readers and non-readers of the original books.  Of course, in addition to this episode, there are many more episodes to be found at outnow.podomatic.com as well as within the official Facebook page for Out Now, facebook.com/outnowpodcast (“like” it), which also features updates from Aaron and Abe’s personal blogs and other frequent posts, as well as a brand new logo for the show!  Feel free to e-mail the show at outnowpodcast@gmail.com with any sort of feedback.  Finally, next week's episode will have Out Now see its official debut on iTunes and its new host site, the HHWLOD Podcast Network.  So now, if you have an hour to kill…

An additional note: Due to some technical difficulties, this is not the cleanest episode we have done.  It is unfortunate, but even with Abe's fantastic editing work, sometimes problems are hard to solve. Everything should be nice and clear next week.

Friday, July 15, 2011

‘Harry Potter’ 8: Live and Let Die

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: 4 out of 5
Lord Voldemort: Harry Potter, the boy who lived... come to die.
So finally, after a decade’s worth of film, we have now reached the end of the Harry Potter movie franchise (minus potential spin-offs or whatever).  This is a pretty major event as far as large film series go.  Never has a major motion picture series managed to maintain all of the key actors for every major role as well as maintain a consistent level of quality all the way through.  While some of the films are better than others, this is a rare feat to have seen be accomplished.  Now, with the series finally coming to a close, one can only hope to relish in how aptly this film series manages to wrap itself up.  This is certainly one of the best made films of the franchise, when accounting for several aspects such as the look of the film, the use of special effects, the acting, and for the most part, the film’s narrative drive to the finish.  Upon reaching the end of the film, I cannot quite say that I felt the emotional resonance that has factored heavily into other well-beloved franchises, but this film does manage to do enough justice to conclude what has become quite the magical saga.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Out Now Special: Horrible Bosses and 2011's R-rated Comedies

 
This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is jam packed with both guests and movies.  Rather than just do a regular episode about the big new release of the week, Horrible Bosses, Aaron and Abe have decided to discuss all of the R-rated comedies that have come out so far this year, along with some of the upcoming ones as well.  This episode does start off with a review of Horrible Bosses, which is followed by a lengthy segment that recaps all of the other R-rated comedies of 2011.  To help Aaron and Abe, three guests join the duo in their discussion.  These guests include past favorites (right?) Mark Hobin (fastfilmreviews.wordpress.com) and Jordan Grout (damndirtyblog.blogspot.com), along with newcomer Mark Johnson (awardcontenders.com), who all lend their 2 cents for many of the comedies discussed.  It is a big episode of sorts as it stands and it also features a pretty significant announcement early on.  Of course, in addition to this episode, there are many more episodes to be found at outnow.podomatic.com as well as within the official Facebook page for Out Now, facebook.com/outnowpodcast (“like” it), which also features updates from Aaron and Abe’s personal blogs and other frequent posts.  Finally, feel free to e-mail the show at outnowpodcast@gmail.com with any sort of feedback.  So now, if you have an hour to kill…

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

‘I Saw The Devil’ And It Was Stylized Craziness


I Saw The Devil: 4 out of 5
Soo-hyeon:  Your nightmare’s only getting worse.
There are a lot of revenge films that currently exist out there.  While I am always up for a sweet revenge tale, it does excite me much more when it is a film coming out of South Korea.  Over the course of the past decade, South Korea has continued to prove to me that some of the best, stylish, and most ambitious films are coming out of that area.  Now I have gotten a chance to see one of the latest treats from South Korea, I Saw the Devil, which is a wonderfully bloody, but stylized, revenge film.  This is a film that warps the idea of a cat-and-mouse thriller and benefits heavily based on the way this film handles familiar aspects of this sub-genre.  The film presents a few different positions on the condition of psychopaths and is certainly violent, but beautifully made in a very bleak sort of way.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Rob And Steve Have A Lot Of Fun On ‘The Trip’


The Trip: 3 ½ out of 5
Rob: Why me?
Steve: Well Mischa can’t come and I don’t want to go alone. I’ve asked other people, but there all too busy, so uh…you wanna come?
There are a lot of very good past and present actor/director teams and actor/actor teams.  While it is easy to acknowledge examples such as Scorsese and De Niro or Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, more obscure ones, such as Viggo Mortensen and David Cronenberg are equally great pairings.  The subject of this review, The Trip, is very obscure (at least for American audiences), as it reteams director Michael Winterbottom with actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.  The three have previously worked together on two very good films, 24 Hour Party People and Tristam Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story.  Their latest collaboration, The Trip serves as a humorous, and at times hilarious, look at two actors playing exaggerated versions of themselves as they go on a road trip through North England, acting as the perfect foils for each other.  Some of the material is incredibly dry, appropriate for British humor, but The Trip is certainly worth taking.

‘Horrible Bosses’, Great Cast, Funny Movie

Horrible Bosses: 3 ½ out of 5
Bobby:  I need you to trim some of the fat around here.
Kurt:  What do you mean, “trim some of the fat?”
Bobby:  I want you to fire the fat people.  They’re lazy, and they’re slow, and they make me sad to look at.
It has been a solid year so far for original, R-rated comedies.  While not every film has been a homerun, I do enjoy the fact that we are being treated to a lot of good, raunchy fun, as opposed to watered-down versions of films followed by the inevitable “unrated” edition 3-4 months later.  Horrible Bosses joins in on the fun, becoming one of the best-casted comedies so far this year.  Often times you have too many great elements in one project and it can become a mess, but what a film like this certainly benefits from is having a great cast, with the three leads making the best of their great chemistry together.  While the film does not fully deliver on the potential of its premise, I did laugh a lot throughout and enjoyed what this film managed to deliver, thanks in large part to its killer cast.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Out Now with Aaron and Abe - Episode 17: Transformers Dark of the Moon


This week on Out Now with Aaron and Abe, the boys delve into the Giant ‘Effin Robots movie that the world has been waiting for.  Of course this is in reference to Michael “Boom Boom” Bay’s newest film, Transformers:Dark of the Moon.  This is the third film in the Transformers franchise and do to the epic scale of this feature, Aaron and Abe get help from returning guests, Alan Aguilera and Jordan Grout (Damn Dirty Blog).  Between these four, almost everything related to this Michael Bay franchise is covered.  Naturally, the regular segments of Out Now are still a part of the show; trailers are covered (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and War Horse), box office results and predictions are spoken of, retro reviews lead to more giant robot and explosions discussion, and then some fun games are played as well.  Certainly a lot going on in this episode.  Of course, in addition to this episode, there are many more episodes to be found at outnow.podomatic.com as well as within the official Facebook page for Out Now, facebook.com/outnowpodcast (“like” it), which also features updates from Aaron and Abe’s personal blogs and other frequent posts.  Finally, feel free to e-mail the show at outnowpodcast@gmail.com with any sort of feedback.  So now, if you have an hour to kill…

Sunday, July 3, 2011

‘Larry Crowne’ Is Nice Enough To Just Not Care

Larry Crowne: 1 ½ out of 5
Talia:  Are you an ex-cop?
Larry Crowne:  Why would you think that?
Talia:  Tucking in a polo shirt makes you look like one.
I guess Tom Hanks could at least receive a “Thanks For Trying” award.  Back in 1996, Hanks made his directorial debut with That Thing You Do, a film that oozes likable charm.  Now, he has made Larry Crowne, a film that oozes something else.  I am not sure what it is that drove Hanks to co-write and direct this film, but I can only assume that he had a lot of fun making it, because the end results don’t match up very well.  One would think it would be tough to make a bad film about ostensibly nice people, all nice and having a good time, complete with a happy ending, but Larry Crowne manages to do just that.  The whole thing is incredibly banal and lacks any kind of excitement.  For all the likable charm that Tom Hanks can bring to a role, this really is an empty film.

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