Miami Vice

From The Bleacher Bum:

FINALLY, a mainstream movie that is rated R, instead of PG-13. Michael Mann did not hold back creating a movie version of his famous 80s television show. Like the television show, the movie takes you on a ride, and it is one that does not stop. It is less flashy than the television show, but violence, nudity, and coolness are everywhere. Mann (Heat and Collateral) wrote and directed the movie, and no one is better at shootouts and car chases. In damn good casting, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx replace Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas as James “Sonny” Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs. They have the clothes, cars, boats, guns and, of course, the women. The script is very simple with little dialogue and only a plot twist or two. Farrell and Foxx are two undercover cops trying to bust Cuban and Colombian drug dealers. The rest of the cast is very solid. If you liked the television show — and who didn’t? — you will enjoy the ride.

Bleacher Bum Review Scale:
Homerun
Triple
Double
Single
Strikeout

Miami Vice: Triple

Concert review: Kelly Clarkson

From the desk of The Movie Snob

First, let me say that going to this concert last night was not my idea (notwithstanding Entertainment Weekly‘s report that Kelly Clarkson is the “must-see” concert of the summer). A friend had an extra ticket, so I decided to go ahead and see the Queen of All American Idols. Truthfully, it wasn’t a bad show. Of course, the opening act was lame — a California band called “Rooney” that consisted of five generic white guys playing amazingly generic rock music. Won’t be running out to buy their CD anytime soon. On the plus side, although their music was loud, it was not as painfully loud as some concerts and karaoke bars I’ve been to.

Ms. Clarkson played for about an hour and twenty minutes, and she gave the audience 100%. I’m not very familiar with her body of work, but I did recognize four or five of her songs, and all of them were plenty catchy. Even the one that apparently started out as a commercial for Ford (which is sponsoring this concert tour). Ms. Clarkson definitely has a good voice, and she easily whipped the crowd (average age: 16; average sex: female) into a frenzy with instant classics like “Break Away,” “Since You’ve Been Gone,” and “Stairway to Heaven.” For her encore, she did something I don’t think I had ever seen at a concert, which is reappear in the middle of the crowd, where the sound equipment was, and start her next song right there amidst the fans. And during the song, she gradually walked back down to the stage, heavily escorted by security personnel of course. Her adoring fans went nuts. I could see why she is so popular.

Lady in the Water

From the desk of The Movie Snob:

Lady in the Water (C). The latest offering from M. Night Shyamalan–supposedly based on a bedtime story he made up for his children–just did not work for me. The director reteams with Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village) as the title character in this modern-day fairy tale. The talented Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man) plays Cleveland Heep, a stuttering sad sack of a guy who is the superintendent of a rundown Philadelphia apartment building. He is suddenly given a purpose in life when Howard’s character, named Story, suddenly appears in the apartment swimming pool and claims to be a sea-nymph-type creature called a narf. She has come to our world to find and unblock a would-be writer whose writings could change the world for the better. Heep comes to believe her and does everything he can to aid her in finding this person and then returning home, which also involves protecting her from another supernatural being, a wicked wolf-like thing called a scrunt. Other eccentric tenants in the apartments also come to play important roles in the quest to help Story. On the plus side, I admit that I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next. On the minus side, I was annoyed at the . . . well, I can’t really say why I was annoyed without crossing over into spoilers. Let’s just say that the movie doesn’t have any major twists like most of Shyamalan’s movies do, but it has plenty of minor twists that kind of bugged me after a short while. And the movie was a little too long, as movies tend to be these days. Still, I’ll keep seeing M. Night’s films because he does at least try to do things that are interesting and different. Gotta give him credit for that.

You, Me and Dupree

A View From Mars

You, Me and Dupree (C) I believe I have completed the last leg in the “man-child” trifecta which began with The Break-Up and followed with Click. The man-child in question is played to a tee by Owen Wilson who stars as Dupree. The You and Me is played by Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson, respectively (or not). The basic plot of this one revolves around Matt and Kate getting married and the lovable (at times) and carefree Dupree shacking up with them for the time being. The yuks ensue. There were some funny moments and I can only think of one time in which I laughed out loud. I’m a fan of Owen Wilson, but I prefer him in better and far funnier movies. Not much to say about this one considering we’ve already seen the premise of a comedy in which the main star is supposed to grow up, and within months no less. This movie is better suited for an evening rental with no expectations, Owen fan or not. Go see the other two of the man-child trilogy.

Spellbound

DVD review from The Movie Snob

Spellbound (B). Despite critical raves, I resisted seeing this movie for years. Why? Because of my own, scarring spelling-bee experiences back in elementary school. Even now, I occasionally wake up in the middle of the night screaming “Discotheque! D-I-S-C-O-T-H-E-Q-U-E! Discotheque!” But I digress. This is a documentary about several contestants in the 1996 National Spelling Bee. The first part of the movie spends several minutes on each of the contestants, following them around in their home towns, showing their families and study routines, etc. Then the scene shifts to the actual competition, and we see our contestants get eliminated one by one. It was impossible not to root for some of the contestants, like the girl from an inner-city area in Washington, DC, or the Texas girl who was the daughter of Mexican immigrants. And I admit that I rooted against some of the other ones, who shall remain nameless and descriptionless. Not as enjoyable as the similar Mad Hot Ballroom, but a worthwhile movie for sure.

Fun (?) With Dick and Jane

DVD review from Nick at Nite

Fun with Dick and Jane

They should have called this movie Bored with Dick and Jane or Saddened with Dick and Jane, certainly not Fun with Dick and Jane, Enjoying Dick and Jane, or Pleased with Dick and Jane. I am finding it increasingly difficult to find a good comedic release. This could have been it. It had Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni, decent actors in their own right, and was based on a remake of a moderately funny movie. Honestly, I thought Jim Carrey was very funny in some of his past roles. I laugh every time I think about Ace Venture realizing that … “Einhorn is Finkelstein, Finkelstein is Einhorn … (cue theme music from The Crying Game).” Tea Leoni, she is as cute as a button. So I thought, why not this movie? I’ll tell you why not. Armed robbery is not funny (a central plot point). Armed robbery is scary. If it is not in Raising Arizona and you are not stealing diapers, it is not funny. The misfortune of all of the employees of Enron, Worldcom, Adelphia, etc … also not funny. Save your money and time on this one. Go for a walk, read a book, or just watch a rerun of TV. You’ll have more fun.

Click

A View From Mars

Click (B). I can’t necessarily say that I’m an Adam Sandler fan, and if I was, you’d be hard pressed to get me to admit such a thing. I will comment that in viewing a Sandler flick, my only standard is that if it doesn’t suck then I’ve succeeded. So with that in mind, I’ll have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. The plot revolves around Sandler acquiring a “universal” remote from Christopher Walken (who I think pokes fun of himself by doing a cheap imitation of, well, himself). Of course, this said remote actually and literally can control the life of the one who possesses it, and as any of us would, Sandler takes full advantage of this capability by fast forwarding, pausing, muting and rewinding his own life. I was surprised at the times that I laughed and even more surprised at how hard I was laughing. However, about three quarters of the way in, the movie takes a dramatic, serious tone and I’m left wondering if I’ll be laughing again or if some theatre employee spliced portions of Punch Drunk Love into the reel. Anyways, I’m not entirely sure when the next time you’ll see a movie featuring Fonzie, Knight Rider and Samwise Gamgee, so that alone was probably enough for me. The movie receives a good solid B grade. Kate Beckinsale dressed as Pocahontas receives an A+ grade.