Movies I Slept Through – Bridesmaids

“Bridesmaids” is “The Hangover” for girls… with balls.

A few months ago, I remember seeing a few different articles about Kristen Wiig and how she gets too much screen time on SNL. While I like her for the most part(I hate that Penelope character with a fiery passion… and I do very few things with a fiery passion), I couldn’t deny that she seems to pop into nearly every sketch. It does bother me when there’s a sketch she doesn’t belong in and here she comes with some absurd character. So here’s a two hour plus movie with Kristen Wiig as the central character. Oh boy.

Annie (Kristen Wiig) is down on her luck. She isn’t happy with her romantic life, her work life or her home life. The only thing she really has going for her is her best friend Lillian(Maya Rudolph). Lillian and Annie have been friends since they were young and when Lillian gets engaged, it’s natural she asks Annie to be her maid of honor.

Annie is quickly thrown in over her head. She isn’t quite ready emotionally to deal with all the pressures and feels overshadowed by Lillian’s new friend, Megan (Rose Byrne). Annie also meets a rational-nice-dream boy(The anti-manic-pixie dream girl) but she won’t let herself fall for him.

Now, on paper this seems like a movie some executive would throw Kate Hudson in and wipe his (or her) ass with the script. It would have been easy to do that. I guess we’re lucky that “Something Borrowed” came along so a movie that people can actually enjoy could be made.

Kristen Wiig does a great job in the lead role. She has great chemistry with nearly everyone in the cast and the friendship between her and Maya Rudolph really shines. The tension between her and Rose Byrne is nice as well, although some of their scenes deteriorate into a Penelope SNL sketch. Which is really the worst thing possible.

Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy, as the other bridesmaids, all have their moments to shine with Melissa McCarthy stealing several scenes.

My favorite part was Chris O’Dowd(The IT Crowd) as the nice guy cop that Annie doesn’t realize his perfect for her. It was nice to seem him make the jump from across the pond. He has great chemistry with Kristen Wiig and I look forward to seeing him in more productions here.

The great things about “Bridesmaids” is the balance it manages to strike between being the raunchy frat boy “Hangover” type comedy and still having a feminine side. My fear is that guys will look at this movie and say they don’t want to see it because it stars a bunch of girls, but that’s some ol’ bullshit. There’s a lot to laugh at here as long as you can put up with vomit, poop and adorable puppies(not all at the same time).

At just over two hours “Bridesmaids” does feel long in spots and the scenes that go on so long they deteriorate into a Penelope sketch really bothered me a lot, but everything else is enough to make up for it. Take a nap before and enjoy this movie.


Movies I Slept Through – Water for Elephants

“Water for Elephants” is a lackluster “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” prequel.

“Water for Elephants” is a story told by an old man straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel. The bulk of the story takes place in 1931 and follows young Jacob Jankowski(Robert Pattinson). He’s a bright young man on his way to graduating from Cornell with a degree in veterinarian sciences. Now, here’s my first problem, I’m going to be generous and say he’s a senior at Cornell University at the age of 20 in 1931. That would mean here in 2011 he’s 100 years old and running around going to circuses on his own. Although I enjoyed Hal Holbrook’s performance, I just didn’t buy it and it got things off to a rocky start.

That’s all fine because things get off to a rocky start for Jacob as well. I once woke up two hours after I was supposed to be at a final exam(still passed the class), but that’s nothing compared to what happens when Jacob is pulled out of his final. He goes from having everything planned to having absolutely nothing.

Jacob begins wandering the rails and eventually hitches a ride on a train, old school hobo style. The train turns out to be that of the Benzini Brothers Circus. It’s the perfect place for an ivy league near-graduate veterinarian, not even the Ringley Brothers could boast such a man.

Jacob quickly rises in the ranks and finds himself in the favor of August(Christoph Waltz), the ring master of the circus, and his lust worthy wife Marlena(Reese Witherspoon). August has a bit of a temper, to put it delicately, and Jacob soon finds himself  wanting to give Marlena the life she deserves. Blah blah blah.

The love story behind “Water for Elephants” is nothing new, but there are a few bright shining moments that save it from being just “Titanic with an Elephant”. First is Christoph Waltz. He gives a great performance  as the proprietor of Benzini Brothers. At times he’s a very bad man and mistreats the animals, but you can see he’s struggling to do what he feels is right to keep his business and people going. In fact, I found myself relating more to him than I did the young lovers, and he beats animals. It may be that Christoph Waltz is an amazing actor, but I think it’s because he can see through the camera and into my soul to steal my deepest secrets.

The other star is Tai, the elephant who plays Rosie, the elephant. More than anything else this movie is a showcase for the majestic nature of elephants. Although, to be fair, I don’t think Tai showed much range.

The love story of “Water for Elephants” falls short of being anything worth investing in and the score is as subtle as an elephant sitting on your testicles, but Christoph Waltz, Tai and the rest of the animals are enough to make it worth staying partially awake. “Water for Elphants” gets a Doze Off.

Movies I Slept Through – Scre4m or Scream 4

“Scre4m” is so meta if this were a review I’d give it a twist rating at the end.

Welcome back to Woodsboro. It’s been 10 years since the original killings by Ghostface Killah. What? Nope, sorry, it’s just Ghostface. It just so happens that Sidney Prescott(Neve Campbell) has returned. Don’t worry though, she has completely moved on from the three separate times she was hunted down by psychopaths. In fact, she’s so moved on, she’s written a book and is doing a signing just to prove it.

To everyone’s surprise, the killings start up again right around the time Sidney returns, but she doesn’t seem to be the focus from the beginning. This time the killer is tormenting her cousin, Jill(Emma Roberts) and her group of horror movie buff friends. Jill is a lot like Sidney was at her age. She’s pretty, has a boyfriend that doesn’t use front doors and is being hunted by a murderer. (They grow up so fast.)

“Scre4m” plays out how you would expect. Characters are introduced, they either make a reference to what would happen in a movie or talk about how meta they are and promptly prove they didn’t learn anything from those movies by getting themselves killed. New Rule: You only survive a horror movie if you don’t act like you’re actually in one.

One thing that really bothered me is that a lot of the characters talk about this one being a reboot. Last time I checked, reboots don’t have a 4 after(or in) their titles.

The acting is pretty bad all around. In fact, David Arquette and Courtney Cox are so bad I didn’t even believe they were in a failing marriage (You’d think they could have nailed that one).

Despite all that, “Scre4m” isn’t as bad as you would expect. The casting is pretty good for the archetypes they’re portraying. In fact, the casting for Jill’s boyfriend Trevor(Nico Tortorella) is so good he looks like what would happen if Cotton Weary(Liev Schreiber) and Billy(Skeet Ulrich) from the original movie had a baby.

That's a good lookin' man

There are a few good jump scares and it’s just kind of fun to watch Ghostface stab little girls. (That may not be the best phrasing, but I stand by it.) The twist at the end is pretty interesting until that character continues their monologue and then it gets pretty stupid pretty quick.  If you find yourself watching “Scre4m”, you know exactly what you’re getting into. This one isn’t worse than any of the others so it gets a Doze Off.

Movies I Slept Through – Super

“Super” answers the question brought up in Dumb and Dumber, “What if he shot me in the face?”

“Super” is about  a man named Frank(Rainn Wilson). He’s just your average guy with an average drug rehabbing wife(Liv Tyler). When she is lured away by a drug dealer(Kevin Bacon), Frank decides to go to the cops. Unfortunately for Frank, he has no proof of wrong doing. So he does what many movie characters do and decides to take matters into his own hands.

Frank creates an alternate identity known as the Crimson Bolt. The Crimson Bolt has one goal and that’s to make crime shut up. I guess really two goals if you count getting Frank’s wife back. How does he make crime shut up? He gets a big ass wrench and beats people with it.

Now, I never saw “The Rocker” but based on the poster and what I assume is the plot; this is Rainn Wilson’s best leading role as of yet.[Editor’s Note: I found out that his character in “The Rocker” is called Fish. It can’t be THAT bad can it?] He shows some decent range by coming off as vulnerable in some scenes and quite a physical presence in others. Good job Rainn Wilson.

Ellen Page has an interesting role as Crimson Bolt’s side kick, Boltie. She inadvertently helps Crimson Bolt realize what he is doing may not be the best thing in the world. The glee with which she attacks people is disturbing.

Liv Tyler does an ok job as the drug addled wife. She spends most of her time in a stupor so it’s hard to judge the quality of her performance. I just imagined her character was the same chick from that Aerosmith video just 17 years down the road.

Combine Kevin Bacon’s role here as the drug dealer who steals Rainn Wilson’s wife with his performance in that Logitech Revue commercial and I say we’re ready for a “Footloose” sequel.

The violence in “Super” walks a fine line between being completely brutal and having that brutality come off as comical.  It’s dark, very dark. The plot grows to the inevitable point of the Crimson Bolt doing something that a real super hero would do, much like this review grew to the inevitable  comparison of “Kick Ass”, but “Super” shows a little more restraint than “Kick Ass”. Spoiler Alert: There are no jet packs in “Super”.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie, but the scenes where Rainn Wilson hallucinates/receives messages from God took me out of things a bit and Ellen Page’s character is legitimately disturbing  to the point I’m afraid she’ll become someone people like but really shouldn’t. “Super” gets a Nap Before.

Movies I Slept Through – The Red Balloon

“The Red Balloon”  is a 1956 interpretation of a 1983 song about balloons.

“The Red Balloon” is about a young boy that befriends a balloon. Balloons are weird.

It’s awesome. It’s on Netflix watch instant. It’s 34 minutes long. Drink some Coffee, watch this movie, and then spend another 90 minutes learning the german lyrics to Nena’s “99 Luft Ballons”.

Movies I Slept Through – Knucklehead

Dennis Farina’s character sums up “Knucklehead” best when he says, “I’m making all this crap up as I go along.” Well played Dennis Farina’s character, well played.

“Knucklehead” stars WWE Superstar The Big Show as gentle giant Walter Krunk. He’s a big screw up (See what I did there? BIG) who’s lived in an orphanage his entire life.  A couple fart jokes into the movie, Walter accidentally burns down the kitchen.

[Editor’s note: When I say “fart joke” in this review, the word joke is used in the loosest sense of the word.]

Just when it’s needed the most, a fighter trainer named Eddie Sullivan(Mark Feuerstein) wanders into the church of the school? There are nuns at the school so I guess this is also just a general, open to the public church as well. Anyway, he’s looking to pay back a debt he owes to Memphis Earl(Dennis Farina) and needs a new fighter. You see, there’s a pro-am mixed martial arts(Do those really exist?) tournament coming up and the prize is enough money to pay for the orphanage’s kitchen.

Eddie convinces Walter to hit the road with him. They’re headed to New Orleans and they’re stopping along the way to get Walter in some fights to help him get in shape. Also, Memphis Earl is trying to stop them from making it. You would think Memphis would want Walter to win the tournament so Eddie could pay back the money  he owes, but maybe that’s just me.

This movie is bad in nearly every conceivable way. Here’s a quick list of things that were terrible about it:(Spoiler Alert?)

  • The bus they’re driving runs off the road and smashes into a telephone pole in the middle of a corn field. The pole isn’t attached to anything else. Oh, and the bus explodes.
  • There’s a fight in a synagogue where a bunch of Jewish guys stand around the ring holding giant Stars of David.
  • Eddie doesn’t own a cell phone. He calls his father using one of the 17 pay phones left in the United States.
  • Eddie is bitten on the ass by a bear. This has zero lasting effect on his body.
  • Walter gets stuck in the toilet of a bus.

The only saving grace of “Knucklehead” is that it gave me the idea to have a reality show where orphans compete to earn parents. (I’m now taking suggestions for titles)

“Knucklehead” receives a Sleep Throughout. I can’t go full coma because you’ll never been in a position where you may accidentally see this movie on cable and think, “Oh, I guess I’ll check this out.” If you’re watching “Knucklehead,” it’s your fault.

Movies I Slept Through – Source Code

“Source Code” is the perfect movie for people who love Jake Gyllenhaal and the ones that just want to watch him die over and over again.

I went into “Source Code” assuming it was going to be a really bad “Quantum Leap” rip off starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Katie Holmes. Well, I was wrong, and not only about the fact that Katie Holmes isn’t in this movie; Michelle Monaghan plays that role.

(Can you blame me?)

“Source Code”  is about Colter Stevens(Jake Gyllenhaal), an Air Force helicopter pilot who is part of a military program called Source Code. The Source Code program allows him to jump into the body of someone that was aboard the Dunkin Donuts: America runs on Dunkin morning commuter train targeted with a bomb. He relives the 8 minutes before the attack in order to discover who was behind it and prevent further attacks.

While on the least crowded commuter train in history, Colter takes over the body of Sean Fentress, a teacher that apparently doesn’t matter in the larger scope of things. Along the way, he falls in love with Christina(Michelle Monaghan), the girl the real Sean could never quite get; has a few coffees at Dunkin Donuts: America runs on Dunkin(the product placement was a little blatant); and discovers the truth of how he became part of the Source Code program in the first place.

I spent most of my time wondering why Jake Gyllenhaal couldn’t be Sam Rockwell. Jake didn’t do a terrible job, but I know Sam would have crushed it.  When I got home, I began  researching “Source Code” in order to find out why exactly it exceeded my expectations. It didn’t take long when I realized “Source Code” was directed by Duncan Jones, who also directed “Moon” starring Sam Rockwell.

I know most people make the easy “Quantum Leap” connection(just like I did) but this is more like a well told better budgeted episode with a much better ending. There’s even a small wink at the connection between the two, but you have to listen closely to figure it out. Either that or just check out the movie’s IMDB page.

Duncan Jones has come into his own as a Science Fiction director. “Source Code” isn’t as pure science fiction as “Moon,” but it does have a nice balance between the love story and the hardcore nerd stuff. It did take me a little while to get into things, but by the end “Source Code” won me over and gets a solid Nap Before.

Movies I Slept Through – Sucker Punch

“Sucker Punch” is about people that aren’t real and things that didn’t happen, but more so than most other movies.

“Sucker Punch” is  about a young girl we only know as Baby Doll(Emily Browning), who’s put into a mental institution after her stepfather does some pretty nasty things to the rest of her family. (Not that, perv… ok, yeah… kinda that)

Her stepfather has arranged for her to be Randle McMurphyed in five days time. So she quickly befriends some of the other hot female patients and hatches a plan to escape. Now, that sounds like a pretty decent movie, eh?  Kind of “Girl, Interrupted”-y but still watchable.

Problem is, that’s not what we get to see. Most of the movie actually takes place inside Baby Doll’s fantasy world where the girls at the institution are dames in an old timey cathouse. They’re forced to dance and do various other things for their gentlemen callers and they’re all named such egregious  things like “Rocket,” “Sweet Pea,” and “Amber.” They still have plan to escape, but now have to gather certain items in order to succeed before the High Roller(John Hamm) arrives.

Baby Doll is special though and every time she dances the men can do nothing but watch her, completely enthralled. When Baby Doll is dancing, however, things change once again into the badass chicks fighting giant robots and dragons we saw in the trailers.

I can’t honestly tell you if the acting was good or not because I spent most of the time trying to figure out why I couldn’t just see what was actually happening at the institution.

Zack Snyder continues to use music from the land of the weird cover songs to great effect. His visuals are awesome as well and the action scenes are as completely over the top as promised. It may have been the really awesome leather seats I was sitting in at the theatre, but I actually found myself dozing off more during these meaningless action scenes than I did during the slower parts even though I really wanted to enjoy them.

The main problem with “Sucker Punch” is I just felt like I was being lied to the whole time. It was like when someone does card tricks in a bar to impress people, sure, you can do fancy tricks, but can you have an actual conversation with another human being? I would happily watch a movie about hot girls trying to escape from a mental instiution or a movie about hot girls trying to escape from a cat house or, hell, I’d even watch a movie about an all hot girl A-Team, but pick one and tell me that story.

“Sucker Punch” gets a Sleep Throughout because it was just so damned frustrating.

Movies I Slept Through – The Chaperone

“The Chaperone” is WWE Studios’ latest attempt to make it’s already perceived as dumb audience even dumber. (For the record, I count myself among them)

“The Chaperone” stars Paul “Triple H” Levesque as Ray Bradstone, a reformed wheel man for a group of bank robbers who gets out of prison and just wants to make things right with his daughter. He’s turned a new leaf and the last thing he wants is to run into his old bank robbing buddy(Kevin “Oh, THAT guy” Corrigan).

Ray quickly finds himself in a bad situation. His wife has moved on, and his now teenage daughter wants nothing to do with him. So he does what any completely reformed criminal would do, he agrees to be the wheel man for one last job. Oh, I forgot to mention, the reason he went to prison is these guys left him sitting in the car at a robbery while they went out the back.

While waiting for the guys to do their bank job, Ray sees his daughter’s bus loading up to go on a field trip. He ditches the robbers and hops on the school bus to be a chaperone. Then the guys come out of the bank, but the cops are coming so they run and the bag full of money ends up in the bus’s luggage. From this point on it’s a cops chasing Ray and the bank robbers and the bank robbers chasing Ray and the Ray trying to mend things with his daughter and his daughter trying to get this boy to notice her. (I know that’s a poorly constructed paragraph, but it’s a poorly constructed movie so blame the WWE.)

“The Chaperone” is like “Mr. Nanny” meets “Con Air” meets “The Town” meets “Bushwacked” meets “Point Break” meets “The Gameplan” meets “Roadhouse.” In other words, it doesn’t know what the crap it’s supposed to be.

I did learn one thing from this movie and that is the word chaperone only has one “r” in it… so that’s something. Since it is a middle of the road family movie that won’t offend anyone and has just a tiny(and I mean tiny) smidgeon of something for everyone, I can’t quite give “The Chaperone” a coma. Put this on with your family and just Sleep Throughout, but only if you have to.

Movies I Slept Through – Black Swan

“Black Swan” is about Nina, a ballerina that goes black and doesn’t go back.

Natalie “I Wanna F*ck You Too” Portman plays Nina Sayers, an up and coming ballerina who is a bit of a perfectionist. She can dance technically great, but when it comes to letting go and dancing through instinct she has a few issues.(Isn’t that because she’s white?)

After the No MILFs Allowed Ballet Company kicks out their aging star(Winona Ryder), the lead role in Swan Lake is up for grabs. Thomas(Vincent Cassel), the head of the company, knows Nina is perfect for the role of the white swan, but will have trouble with the black. He tries every thing known to man to get a woman to loosen up: verbal abuse, sexual assault, having sex with one of her friends. Eventually, she does start to let go and gives into her darker impulses.

Darren Aronofsky directed this movie with the grace and precision expected of the subjects. (Someone has to have said that by now, right? I’m leaving it anyway.) He gets nice performances from all of the actors and much like “The Wrestler,” you don’t have to be a big fan of the subject matter to enjoy “Black Swan.” It may even cause you to find a new appreciation for the ballet or lesbians for that matter.

I stayed awake through this entire movie because I didn’t want to miss the sexual scenes between Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman. It wasn’t as great as I had imagined in my head, but I couldn’t have expected that from a rated R movie. I give “Black Swan” a Coffee.

Also, someone remind me to start a ballerina company in the future. It’s like a farm for young girls that want to do anything to please you.