Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers

Stage review from The Movie Snob

Tonight, comedian/actor/author/musician Steve Martin (The Jerk) performed at Dallas’s Meyerson Symphony Center along with his bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers, and if you weren’t there you missed a heck of a show.  I’m no particular fan of bluegrass, but I don’t dislike it either, and I thoroughly enjoyed the music.  Martin is a talented banjo player (at least to this untrained ear), and the band was excellent (especially the fiddle player, who really cut loose in the last song of the encore).  But of course the audience was really hoping for some comedy, and Martin did not disappoint.  He delivered a mini-monologue after almost every song, and the audience ate it up.  My mom and I both had a great time, and the tickets, though pricey, were well worth it.  If you like Steve Martin, seek out this show!

Your Highness

The Borg Queen transmits this DVD review.

Your Highness – F

If there was a grade lower than F, I would give it to this awful film that epitomizes much of what is wrong with society today.  The opening, gory scene glorifies and mocks rape, which unfortunately sets the tone for the remainder of the film.   In fact, the whole movie is about the “prince” saving his virgin bride (Zooey Deschanel) from being raped by some evil wizard – an event that somehow will create a dragon that he can control.   Scene after scene is all about masturbation, rape, molestation, sex with dwarves, bestiality, and women existing solely to please disgusting penis-and-breast-obsessed men – and joking about each and every one of those topics, as if that is okay.  The fact that people even made this movie is appalling.  The fact that people even think these are topics to joke about is disturbing.  Having forgotten the trailer I once saw for this film, I watched it because it features Natalie Portman, who is one of my favorite actresses.  She appears about a third of the way into the film.  Up until then, I was hoping that at least Queen Amadala’s, I mean Ms. Portman’s role would not be tarnished by the plethora of disgusting, indecent scenes plaguing the movie.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  In the scene wherein Ms. Portman enters the film a bunch of bare-breasted, painted women are cheering on a disgusting fat man controlling some snake-like monster trying to kill the main characters in a fighting ring.  She also appears in a scene in which a minotaur is raping a court squire – and then proceeds to appear in the rest of the movie wherein one man wears the bloody penis of the minotaur around his neck.  This is far and away the most disgusting, awful, offensive movie I have ever seen.  I simply can’t think of enough negative adjectives to describe this movie.   I should get a medal for even finishing it.  When this movie was made, the world became a worse place.  My only hope is that no one else will ever watch it – ever.

Law Abiding Citizen

The Bleacher Bum sends us this DVD review.

LAW ABIDING CITIZEN: On first thought, this is a movie that punches the viewer in the face.  But like any punch that didn’t come from Mike Tyson or Clubber Lang, the movie is soon forgotten after a couple nights of sleep.  It is a nice thrill ride if the viewer is able to leave realism at the door.  Gerard Butler (solid performance) stars as Clyde, a husband and father whose family is brutally killed after a home invasion. Jamie Foxx (not his best work) stars as the D.A. that allows one of the murderers to walk with a light sentence. Butler then seeks revenge on every person involved with the crime and case.  I think the real star of the movie is F. Gary Gray, the director. The movie has a smooth and slick feel but it pulls no punches. It also has a very quick pace (only 1 hour 45 minutes of running time). I really enjoyed the movie, but I wonder will I even remember it four months from today.   Grade: B-.

The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising

DVD review from The Movie Snob

The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising  (F).  This 2007 release is a flat-footed, dull-as-dishwater Harry-Potter-wannabe.  If that doesn’t persuade you to avoid it at all costs, well, all I can say is I tried to warn you.

The plot is as mundane as a house full of muggles.  As a dorky boy named Will turns 14, he suddenly finds out that he is “the seeker,” meaning it’s up to him to gather up the six “signs,” or magical talismans then will enable the forces of light to defeat the forces of darkness just like they did in their last epic battle around a thousand years ago.  Although the signs were supposedly scattered across time and space at the time of that victory, it turns out by lucky coincidence that all six of them are within a few hundred feet of the quaint English village where Will happens to live.  Except for an early scene in which Will encounters two decently creepy bad guys (justifying the PG rating and making the movie unsuitable for little kids), his quest for the signs is about as exciting as a grade-school scavenger hunt.  I appreciate Walden Media for trying to make decent, family-friendly movies, but too bad; this movie stinks.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

From The Movie Snob

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly  (B).  This 1966 release is a great, sprawling Western — two hours and forty minutes long in the DVD version I picked up (from “The Best of Eastwood” collection).  The film is set during the Civil War.  Three men who operate on the wrong side of the law are all on the trail of $200,000 in stolen Confederate gold.  Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven) is a laconic figure known only by the nickname “Blondie.”  Eli Wallach (The Holiday) plays Tuco, a flamboyant but ruthless Mexican bandit.  And Lee Van Cleef (Escape from New York) plays the implacably villainous Sentenza, a/k/a Angel Eyes.  The movie takes a good long time before the Confederate gold plot really kicks in.  Blondie and Tuco start out as uneasy partners in a bounty-hunting scam, then become enemies, and end up uneasy allies again when each gets a different clue to where the Confederate gold is hidden.  The gold hunters cross and re-cross Civil War battle lines, encountering some memorable figures along the way.  There’s a sojourn at a monastery where Tuco’s brother is a priest.  And of course there’s a big showdown when the three outlaws get close to the gold.  The movie was too long for my own good, but I can’t deny that it generally held my interest.

Friends with Benefits

A new review from The Bleacher Bum.

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS: Some movies just know what they are and don’t try to be anything more.  Sometimes actors are perfectly cast for the roles they are portraying.  These things can surely be said about Friends with Benefits.  Mila Kunis stars as an NYC headhunter that just got dumped. She is trying to recruit LA web designer Justin Timberlake, who also just got dumped.  The two become close friends and agree to start a sex-only relationship. The chemistry of Kunis and Timberlake is real and genuine. While it is easy to predict where the plot is headed, the laughs, smiles, tears, and warm feelings that are experienced make the journey worthwhile. Grade: B+.

Larry Crowne

Dan in Reel Life favors us with a review.

Larry Crowne is a disjointed romantic comedy that is neither romantic nor comic.  It feels like the goal was to take two of America’s favorite rom-com actors, surround them with an assortment of cliched bit characters, mix in some ‘popular’ themes, and hope people pay to see it.  Tom Hanks (The Money Pit) has the title role and plays a recently fired retail employee who decides to attend community college to rebound.  Will he get together with the pretty speech teacher Mercedes (Julia Roberts, Stepmom)?

The answer (spoiler alert!) is obvious, but the larger question which is not explained is, why?  There is no apparent chemistry between the two (and no, the scene where he kisses her when she’s wasted should not be considered chemistry).  Larry actually has more of a relationship with his young student friend Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, film debut), which inspires jealousy in Mercedes and provides a weak amount of tension between her and Larry.

As to the ‘comedic’ aspects of the film, the attempts at humor were often insulting, and especially so the second or third time the same joke was used (What?!  The professor took away Larry’s cell phone in class again?!  Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!)  We were actually more entertained by some audience members who were practically falling out of their seats during these same scenes.

Lame themes abound:  WalMart is evil and likes to humiliate its employees when it fires them for no reason; banks are evil and don’t extend credit to the unemployed; the American dream has failed, you should get rid of your house and car, move to an apartment, drive a scooter, and wear second-hand clothes.

All around a bad movie, stay away from this stinker.