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Archive for the ‘2012’ Category

the Raven

When I saw the trailers for this movie I was excited because as a teenager I was an Edgar Allan Poe fan and I have always like John Cusack. At this time Cusack had been on a roll starring in the disaster movie 2012 and the ridiculous comedy Hot Tub Time Machine.  So I was excited to see this film but work kept me from seeing it opening weekend.  By the time I had time to see the film it was gone and I was like WTF?  So The Raven had disappeared and I with the attention span of a 6 month old had forgotten about the movie.   Fortunately there is the HBO network and it was on the other night and I was able to watch it finally.  While I liked the film I can see why it failed at the box office and most of the critics as well.

During the last days of his life Edgar Allan Poe, played by John Cusack (Hot Tub Time Machine,) is broke and trying to survive day to day life, his alcoholism, and the father of his love Emily, played by Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness.)  Poe is given a new reason to live when his poems become the inspiration of a serial killer in Baltimore.  Poe teams up with Detective Fields, played by Luke Evans (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smog,) to try and capture the man who not only is killing people but has kidnapped Emily and will leave her to die if Poe doesn’t solve the riddle of the killer.

Being a fan of detective type mysteries is one of the reasons why I like this film.  It is by no means a difficult mystery to solve but it is fascinating to watch it unfold.  But I like how Poe and Fields work together to solve the riddles one by one.  It would be easily described as a poor man’s Holmes and Watson.   I also enjoy the look and feel of the film.  I love the look of 1840’s Baltimore and how many times I had to remember that this wasn’t 1800’s London.  I don’t know what it is about the time that I like so much about it.  Maybe it’s the use of horses and gas lamps and the Victorian dresses the ladies wear.  We rarely see films of this time in US history that take place in the eastern part of the States.  Most of the 1800’s films are westerns or Civil War era and I would like to think that there are many stories to be told from 1800 to 1850 New York, Boston, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Anyway I liked that the time and location of the story because my lack of knowledge of the period helped in the overall story telling.

I mentioned earlier this entire film is basically a poor man’s Sherlock Holmes.  This is what I feel is the death of this movie.  Anyone who has seen the Robert Downey Jr films will look at this film and see the Holmes movies as the better film and not think much about telling people to see this one.  I don’t know if that is completely fair considering Holmes is a fictional detective and Poe is a writer of dark stories turned fictional detective.  But that is the direction the writer took and so that is the path that is logical to follow when watching this film.  I think the writer could have bailed himself out if he had made the story more about the Poe poems with detail.  Instead we only see them used as a rough outline with the exception of The Pit and the Pendulum.  The other murders have pieces of other of Poe’s works but did not dig deep into them.  I would have liked to see the movie story wrap itself around the Poe films similar to the way the movie Seven had the seven deadly sins so interwoven in the film.  The Raven doesn’t do this and I feel that this is the biggest failure in the film.  Not that this is a bad story, it just could have gone to a wonderful place if written properly and it wasn’t and instead we get an average film.

I do not know if I will own this movie on Blu-Ray or not.  Maybe if I can get it dirt cheap at a used store.  I like the movie enough to own but I if I get it I don’t know how many times I will watch the film.  This movie also appears to be somewhat of a career killer for John Cusack.  Mind you this would be the second time that happened to him.  Since this film I haven’t seen a single film of his that made it to the big screen and the two that did were both small films.  I worry that Cusack may be disappearing again and that would suck because I find him to be an enjoyable to watch.  Anyway, I say watch the film it is entertaining but should leave you wanting more.

 

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The babymakersThe main reason why I decided to watch this movie is because of my new found infatuation with Olivia Munn. Even though she has been on the radar in Hollywood for quite some time, I failed to notice her.  Why?  I don’t know.  I didn’t watch Attack of The Show in the late 2000’s and missed all sorts of things she was in after that.  Now that I have discovered this Goddess I want to get as much as I can and was the main reason behind my going to see Ride Along 2.  I also picked this movie because this movie was put together by parts of the Broken Lizard team that has given us the classic bad film Beerfest.  I know that means that this film will not be very good but has the potential of being humorous which indeed it fits that description, not good, but funny.

Tommy Macklin, played by Paul Schneider (Lars and the Real Girl,) and his wife Audrey, played by Olivia Munn (Ride Along 2,) are celebrating their third anniversary where they agree to make a baby and start a family.  Fast forward nine months later, with many glorious PG-13 sex scenes in flashback style, and the couple are having a hard time with making a baby.  After getting tested the couple find out that Tommy is unable to have children.  However, five years earlier, in order to buy Audrey’s engagement ring and without her knowing, Tommy donated his sperm 20 times to a sperm bank so he could buy the engagement.  When he heads to the bank he is told that there is only one sample left but it has already been sold to another couple.  Desperate he gets his friends together to hire a thief to help him steal his sample from the bank so he can have a child with his wife.

The biggest surprise to me with this film is that it is an honest attempt at making a film.  I know that sounds stupid but when dealing with the guys who have made Club Dread and Beerfest, I have expected a slapstick comedy full of dick and fart jokes.    There is a huge influence from the Broken Lizard gang because many of the actors have appeared in their films, including Olivia Munn.  Two glaring omissions from that group would be the writers Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow.  These two don’t have a great list of movie credits but have written such Hollywood films as Ice Age: The Meltdown, and Black Knight, and some Saturday Night Live episodes in 95-96.  These guys created a film that was genuine in an attempt to tell a story, a ridiculous one for sure, but a genuine one.  The best scene that epitomizes this is when Audrey finds out that Tommy has donated sperm before they were married.  It was a very emotional scene from writing, and directing, and Olivia’s performance.  I felt for her when she said to Tommy repeatedly that he gets to have kids.  That was some real dramatic emotion coming from a movie I wasn’t expecting it from.  Maybe I’m making a big deal out of it because I wasn’t expecting it and it wasn’t that great, but I believe it was a good scene and credit all those involved.

As for the rest of my expectations I have to say that the humor was not on the level of Broken Lizard in terms of crudeness.  In fact compared to their other films it was quite tame.  Many of the laughs revolved around Tommy’s friend Wade, played by Kevin Heffernan (Beerfest.)  He was just as silly in this films as the other films that he has done with this group.  The only over top performance was by Jay Chandrasekhar who was also the director of the film.  I loved his direction in Beerfest but hated it in the remake of The Dukes of Hazzard.  But he definitely scored some points with me on this film.  Other than his character, he didn’t treat this film as slapstick gross out comedy and was honest to the script.

I would also like to mention the wonderfulness of Olivia Munn as well.  This is the second film in which I have seen her actually do a wonderful job in a movie surrounded by either actors who looked like they were phoning it in, Ride Along 2, or a silly comedy with a ridiculous story, The Babymakers.  She is just not another pretty face with a great body.  She is someone with some skill and I hope that she continues to grow and learn as an actor and has future success.  However, being a dumb male I must say that without showing any nudity in this film, she was freaking hot.  The sex scenes, as brief and quick as they were, are wonderful and her husband’s masabatory imagination scene involving her was the best yet.  But again she is not a hot piece of ass, well she is, but she can also act and would also appear to be a good human so here is hoping more success follows.  And on a personal note, while I am sure it is not affecting Aaron Rodgers play in the least, his lack of offensive line was this year, lets hope he continues to not have success and ends up having a long relationship with her so my beloved Dallas Cowboys can win a few more Super Bowls in my lifetime.

Lastly I will say that I am surprised that this film did a grand total of $5,000 at the box office.  It was only released in 10 theaters apparently.  It received an 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 4.9 rating on IMDB.  So critics hate it and most of the public does as well.  But for me it was nowhere near as bad as The Dukes of Hazzard and isn’t as silly as Beefest.  And if the critics thought this film was crude then they most absolutely despise anything Adam Sandler has done in the last 10 years.  You will have to Amazon or Netflix this film in order to find it.  If you are a fan of the Broken Lizard guys or of Olivia Munn it will be worth your while.  Lots of famous actors had parts in some questionable films.  Jennifer Aniston had Leprechaun, Clint Eastwood had Every Which Way But Loose, and Tom Hanks had Bachelor Party.  They have done pretty well for themselves and I suspect that Olivia Munn will too.

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