Friday, October 30, 2009

Assassination of a High School President

Assassination of a High School President is a dark comedy staring Reece Thompson as Bobby Funke, pronounced Funky by everyone but Bobby, as the somewhat awkward sophomore who is on the school newspaper and is trying to make a name for himself so that he can get nominated for a prestigous summer journalism program at Northwestern.

Reece learns of a potential conspiracy and gets some quick information and writes the crack story implicating the student body President, resulting in his removal from office. However, things don't turn out as they initially appear and eventually Funke uncovers an even bigger conspiracy and learns a huge lesson in investigative journalism.

His investigation leads him into a relationship with the sultry Francesca Fashini (Mischa Barton). She's the girl of most guys' dreams and he cannot believe that she falls for him. Or has she?

High school principal Kirkpatrick, played by Bruce Willis, is a Gulf War Veteran and runs the private Catholic school like a prison with little tolerance for mischief. By no means are Kirkpatrick and Funke on the same team.

Assassination of a High School President is definitely a teen angst movie that many teenagers will be able to relate, though the movie is rated R, technically making it so that most teenagers cannot watch it until they are out of high school.

The movie is rated R for drug and alcohol use (by minors), language, lots of sexuality, and some nudity, though not close enough to get you really excited, but I'm sure most guys are not going to complain.

The movie is 93 minutes long and was directed by PhD candidate Brett Simon who gets his first big break in films.

Assassination of a High School President certainly has an entertainment value and I found myself relating to Funke (though I'm not sure if that is a good thing). Mischa Barton kept me glued to the screen. I remember her as the shy roommate in the sexually explicit Lost & Delirious movie depicting a graphic lesbian relationship between Piper Parabo and Jessica Pare'. Barton also stared in the moderately successful television series The O.C.

Given my tastes in movies, I give this movie the standard 3 stars. Not too much desire to watch it again, but it entertained me for the time.

The Maiden Heist

In The Maiden Heist, Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman, and William H. Macy star as three senior security guards at an art museum that have fallen in love with particular pieces of art over the years. However, their love turns to fear upon learning that a young punk curator will be moving their beloved pieces to a museum in Denmark. Distraught, they discover that one another has similar feelings and decide that they must do something to stop this travesty.

The three actors bring their best abilities to the screen, and their respective characters bring their own unique personality to the ultimate heist. Freeman is the calm and collected member, Macy the slightly psychotic former Marine, and Walken is the determined, straight guy.

The movie is not a rip-roaring comedy, but it does have a cuteness factor as we are now watching three of our favorite actors now as old men. Macy's character is definitely the funniest and he plays a similar character to most of his roles.

The Maiden Heist is rated PG-13 for language, violence, and some nudity. Do not get too excited as the nudity is not some hot young 24 year old girl.

Directed by Peter Hewitt, The Maiden Heist is 90 minutes long, the perfect length for this type of movie.

This movie that I got from Netflix was a good filler for a crammed week. I got a couple of good laughs and I didn't have to spend all night watching it. The plot is fairly thin and predictable, but that was okay. I give this movie 3 stars. After you've seen the other good movies that are out, you may get a fair kick out of this one.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

What a tag line. "More Alien Robots. More Explosions. And Much Much More Megan Fox." Who's this movie really about anyway? They certainly know who the target audience is.

The latest installment of Transformers hit the market this week on DVD. I watched this one compliments of Netflix Well, not really compliments. I paid for it. But nonetheless.

The movie has the same cast of characters including the weenie-turned superhero Shia LeBeouf (pronounced wee'-nee), the super-hot Megan Fox (she sure is), and some other actors that most people don't care about.

After the first movie, everyone assumed the Autobots had won the battle against the Decepticons. However, it turns out that Hollywood's insatiable appetite for money-raking sequels to successful movies has proven that the Decepticons were not all eradicated and have come back to Earth for revenge. In fact, for Revenge of the Fallen.

Sam (LeBoeuf) attempts to go off to college, but a magical metal chard has fallen that activates future Decepticons and all hell starts breaking loose. Now it's up to Sam to save the world, and for some odd reason, the United States military fully cooperates with this 18 year old kid because they know he can save the world. And they know that if his hot girlfriend tags along in a spaghetti string top that reveals a lot of her cleavage, he'll have more success.

This Transformers sequel is full of destruction, explosions, violence, explosions, lasers, bombs, explosions, bullets, missiles, rockets, and did I mention more explosions? The Decepticons are very good at said destruction and wreak havoc all over the planet. It's starting to not look good for the human race and world-wide tourists attractions and the Autobots seem to have met their final match. Fortunately, someone always has a trick up their sleeve that can turn the tide of battle.

I'm sure you can figure out how it will end. The good guys all die and the Decepticons take over the world, right?

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is 2 and a half hours long and was Directed by Michael Bay and produced by Steven Spielberg. It is rated PG-13 for explosions, violence, language, some crude behavior, and a sexual situation that will whig you out.

Though a non-stop action movie, the plot of this sequel is thin and at times too convenient. Someone asked me about Megan Fox's acting. Acting? She just runs around being sexy and tough. Not much dialog for her. I doubt that she'll win an Oscar for this one. But she got some good posters out of it.

Additionally, the sound effects, for some reason, didn't capture my attention like they did in the first movie. Perhaps they dummied them down. It seemed like more banging and less metallic, gear-shifting as they changed from vehicles to robots. Furthermore, what should have been heart-thumping explosions from missiles and other artillery were more like muffled tin-like noises that you would expect from the weird kid on the bus that was into Sci-Fi.

Overall, this movie was entertaining, but not of the same caliber as the original movie. If you're looking for fast-paced pure destruction then this is your movie. If you want cerebral science fiction, you'll have to look elsewhere. I'll give this second leg of the series 3 stars.

Stay tuned as the third segment will be out in a year or two. And for the Megan Fox crowd - keep your fingers crossed that the next Transformers movie is a soft-core porn\science fiction.

Year One

What do you get when you cross the underdog, yet witty Jack Black with the underdog Michael Cera? Of course the answer is you get a predictable comedy set in the stone age.

Year One is the latest installment in goofy movies. Black and Cera are early tribesmen who are shunned by their peers for being too lazy. They are too feeble to be good hunters and too interested in the women to be good gatherers. Additionally, they have a 21st century mentality in a 1st century world. Their world radically changes when Zed (Black) decides to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree and is banished from the village.

Forced out of the village, the 2 begin to travel across what turns out to be Biblical lands. Their first meet-up is with Cane and Able (Paul Rudd). For the religious crowd, you're probably wondering how a primitive human can interact with the sons of Adam. Which calendar are they using anyway?

Further travels have them running into the Sodomites, Abraham, being forced into slavery, fleeing slavery, and eventually saving the girls from their original village.

Year One was directed by Harold Ramis, best known for Ghostbusters and Stripes, and produced by Judd Apatow, known for working with Will Farrell in such movies as Anchorman, Talladaga Nights, and Step Brothers, and also several movies staring various cast members of Freaks and Geeks, such as Seth Rogan in Knocked Up, Superbad, and Pineapple Express, to Jason Seigel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. As you can see, if Apatow touches it, it's usually a big movie. However, there are exceptions.

Year One reads like movie written during recess at a Judeo-Christian middle school by the smart-alec kids trying to poke fun at the divergence of religion, science, and humor. It lacks direction and is only strung together by some funny situations and some good one-liners.

The movie is 97 minutes long and is Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language.

Jack Black can usually make me laugh with his uninhibited low-brow comedy and he hits it about average in this movie. I tolerated this movie, but I certainly wouldn't call it a big hit for the year, and certainly a disappointing notation on Apatow's resume. I give Year One 2 1/2 stars.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Netflix Delay

Either Netflix is pretending to have not received my latest movie which I mailed yesterday, or the mailman swiped it. Looks like I'm only going to get one movie this week.

Monday, October 12, 2009


How many people request movies from Netflix that were produced in Prague in 1933? I have a list of what I'll call novelty movies that I throw into my Netflix queue when I need a backup. Most of these are significant for one reason or another. My latest Netflix movie was one of those.

Ecstasy, with its soft-core erotic name, is nothing of the sort by modern standards. However, in 1933, this movie blew the doors off of the film industry. The movie was even seized by customs officials when it was imported to the United States. The reason? There were three. Let's understand the plot of the movie first.

The movie is quasi-silent. There is some dialogue, but mostly the movie is music like a silent film. Hedy Lamarr stars and a newly married young bride. She marries an older man and on that wedding night they go to their room. Reason #1 - being their wedding night, there is much foreshadowing that they are preparing to consummate their marriage. There they slowly get ready for that wedding night. However, he shuns her advances and falls asleep. Meanwhile, she seductively falls asleep in bed.

Realizing her mistake she quickly files for divorce, but is unhappy. So one morning she hops on her horse and rides to a creek. You see the horse standing on the shore with her clothes laid upon its back. Then there are several long views of her swimming - naked. There was a 2 second scene of her breasts and a blurry image of her bottomless.

Reason #2 - the next scene was actually comical. The horse hears another horse and is drawn to it, leaving Hedy in the creek without her clothes. She chases the horse exposed bosoms and all, but realizes she cannot catch it. Finally a fine strapping man secures the horse, but he doesn't see her. She scampers into the woods to hide and we catch a 5 second long-view glimpse of her fully naked body. He finally sees her and tosses her clothes to her.

Reason #3 - Later, she lies awake thinking of this young man and decides to pursue him. She walks out at night, through the woods and finds his home. She enters his small hut, they embrace, she falls to the bed, he moves down "there" and the camera moves up to her face where she closes her eyes, begins to breathe heavily, then gives the quintessential silent orgasmic face, a face that graces the cover of the movie, and was briefly stolen by software maker Corel for one of their editing programs.

The movies then loses some of its steam steam. Her ex-husband returns, he meets her new fling, realizes that he cannot regain her, then ex-hubby dies, and finally Hedy tearfully leaves the new guy at the train station while he sleeps on the bench.

The novelty of the movie is that claims to be the first non-stag film to show a woman's pubic hair, though the scene shows her from what must be 100 yards from the camera, she's running from left-to-right, not facing the camera, so you only get a side-view, and the scene was like 2 seconds long. And second, as mentioned before, it implies her orgasm during oral sex.

Again, by today's standards, this movie probably would get a PG-13 rating. We've become numb to nakedness and sexuality. However, in 1933, this was a big deal.

Moreover, Hedy Lamarr made quite a name for herself outside of this film. The is also co-credited with inventing a spread spectrum device, the forerunner to wireless communications. Furthermore, she was mocked repeatedly in Blazing Saddles and even sued Mel Brooks for infringing on her right of publicity, a case that was settled out of court.

Ecstasy is 129 minutes long and did I mention that it's in German with subtitles?

I have to admit that I was more interested in the background of the movie than the actual movie. However, because of it's novelty and my anxiousness to see the movie, I'll give it 4 stars.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Sometimes a movie has one scene that is totally worth seeing, even if the rest of the movie sucks. Management is one of those movies. In fact, I would not blink an eye if the director told me that the movie was originally written around that one single scene. Imagine, write a storyline for a single funny scene, then build a movie around it. It has to happen, right?

Management stars Jennifer Aniston and Steven Zahn, 2 actors that can be hit or miss. You may know Steven Zahn from such monster box office hits as Sunshine Cleaning (which actually wasn't that bad), Strange Wilderness (which was dreadfully horrible), Rescue Dawn, and Daddy Daycare. And everyone knows who Jennifer is.

The premise of the movie is that Aniston is a traveling saleswoman who sells corporate art. Zahn is the night manager for his parents' motel. The owner is Fred Ward. Anyway, Zahn immediately falls in love with Aniston and on his shift struggles to think of a reason to visit her room. He then finds a way. With some persistence, he eventually scores, but Aniston then finds out that he won't leave her alone, and follows her across the country (interestingly all the way to Baltimore and Columbia, Maryland).

After that previously mentioned scene, the movie is unbelievably predictable and uneventful. Think of it - what other movie has the underdog dude go after the attractive sophisticated woman and not get her? It's the fibre of a successful romantic comedy. Without it, it's not funny....or romantic.

Management was directed by Stephen Belber, basically an unknown. The movie is an hour an a half long and is rated R for language and sexual situations. The movie also stars Woody Harrelson as Anistons on-again off-again mentally deranged boyfriend, a role that he has perfected. Harrelson has been a busy woody, staring in nearly a dozen movies in the past 2 years.

If it weren't for that one scene, this movie would have been a dud. However, because that scene made me laugh so hard, it deserves the big 3 stars.
My Zimbio