Feb 14, 2016

WIWTW #34

For my own sanity, it's a good thing that this week represents a slight improvement over last week. That's largely due to Bonnie and Clyde being as good as it is and it really is a good one. It was about time I got around to it anyway.

It was a bit of a Kristen Stewart week also I guess (not purposefully) with Welcome to the Rileys and On the Road having been on the menu. While there's still a slight backlash against Stewart as an actress, neither of those two movies really dispel the narrative that she gives similar performances in every movie she does, at least for me.

Now on to WIWTW.

But first...
 

Some News (That I Actually Care About)

  • Ryan Reynolds doing the right thing here by letting a young Edmonton cancer patient watch Deadpool first without any theatre staff to tell him he's too young to see an R-rated movie. It's just the right thing. @Comicbook.com
  • Box office report: Against all odds, Deadpool is the box office king of this weekend. Not only that, but it shattered the previous record of highest grossing R-rated movie. The Matrix: Reloaded held the title before with $91.8 million, but Deadpool shot past that with a mouth-watering $135 million. With a budget of only $58 million, this is a huge victory for Fox and it opens the door to possibly more R-rated superhero movies in the future. Kung Fu Panda 3 added $19.6 million to its trove with a second place finish and How to be Single attracted a decent amount of most likely female moviegoers to the tune of $18.7 million. Disappointment of the weekend? That would be Zoolander 2 with a mere $15.7 million. I personally hope it kills the trend of overloading comedies with as many cameos as possible. 
  • Interesting interview with Karen Allen, mostly know for her role in Indiana Jones alongside Harrison Ford. @The A.V. Club
  • So another xXx really is happening I guess. Besides Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen is apparently going to be replacing Jet Li which is cool in my books. I bet Ice Cube won't be back. @SlashFilm
Video of the week: It's not as good as the Flute Edition, but here's the cute 20th Century Fox intro for The Peanuts Movie

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Number of movies watched: 8

Average rating: 5.75
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February 7th

 

The Original Latin Kings of Comedy (2002)

Rating: 5.5/10

What is it: A comedy show done in El Paso, Texas featuring 5 Latin comedians

I've never really had a good time watching comedy shows on TV or in movie form. There's a feeling of detachment I guess since you're not feeling the rest of the crowd "feel" and unless the comedian is really good, it's not going to get much of a reaction from me. That was the case for Joey Medina, Alex Reymundo and Cheech Marin who was limited to being the host. The jokes they had felt vulgar for the sake of being vulgar and there just didn't seem to be much thought put into their material. Totally different story for the last two acts; George Lopez and Paul Rodríguez though. These two completely outclassed their fellow comics and thankfully are given the most stage time which partially saves this show.

February 8th

 

Welcome to the Rileys (2010)

Rating: 5.5/10

What is it: A drama film mostly known as Kirsten Stewart's stripper movie.

Welcome to the Rileys has a problem with triteness. It feels like a series of dramatic scenes that we've already seen before, but put all together to make something greater than the sum of its parts. It doesn't work for me. James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo do their best to bring some credibility and they do have their moments. Kristen Stewart on the other hand gives a performance that feels as flat as a pancake. The film surprisingly gets worse as time goes on, slipping into miserable melodrama more often than not. Really, this is a script problem as Jake Scott (Ridley Scott's son) does his best to keep this movie with its head above the water. Not every ship can be saved though and not every ship is worth saving.

February 9th

 

Lake Placid vs. Anaconda (2015): Worst Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 2.5/10

What is it: A Syfy TV movie that combines snakes and crocs into one shoddy B-movie

Nobody thinking of watching Lake Placid vs. Anaconda would make the mistake in thinking that it's a good movie. Not even the makers would either which is why a couple of the more meta moments in the film are more than welcome. At the same time, you cannot excuse the amount of laziness that LPvA tries to get away with. The special effects are just laughable and most of the acting isn't even worthy of a community college stage production. There's even some pretty obvious dubbing going on as the tight budget must've obligated the production to use Bulgarian actors (where the movie was filmed) and then dub over them with English speakers. LPvA is worth an incredulous laugh or two, but nothing more.

February 10th

 

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

Rating: 7/10

What is it: An adaptation of Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Fried Green Tomatoes wears its earnestness on its sleeve in the best possible way. Going back and forth between the 80's and post WWI, it's a great story about independence, empowerment and self-sufficiency. It's also the kind of movie that's in short supply these days; one that features a mostly female cast to great effect. Performances are strong and emotional scenes are poignant for the most part. You can tell however that there's a bit of sidestepping and reluctance to portray Idgie and Ruth's relationship as it was in the novel in order to avoid controversy which is a shame.

February 11th

 

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010)

Rating: 6/10

What is it: A DC animation with parallel universes and a Lex Luthor who needs help

The premise of JL:CoTW is pretty cool if you ask me. It begins with a Lex Luthor from a parallel universe trying to fight off an evil version of Superman named Ultraman and all his cronies which proves to be too much for him. He goes for help and brings in the Justice League as we know it who then have to fight off a "bad" version of themselves. Nice. What's wrong? It's starts with the voice acting which is completely uninspired if we subtract James Woods as Owlman. The animation is alright, but the short runtime really does hurt a lot of the different storylines as well. Another fifteen minutes really would've helped.

 

 

Bonnie and Clyde (1967): Best Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 8/10

What is it: One of the best known films to herald in the "New Hollywood" era

Bonnie and Clyde is clearly reminiscent of the French New Wave in quite a few ways. From the minute Clyde seduces Bonnie with his gun (which is clearly meant to represent something else), I was in. While it has aged in a few respects, it's the kind of movie you appreciate for the impact that it had during its time. Beatty and Dunaway are unforgettable in their roles, and Gene Hackman also deserves some recognition as well. This is a funnier film than I thought it was going to be and as brutal as I thought it would be. Seriously, it's a movie that absolutely must be watched until its end for the full effect. 
 

February 12th

 

Frozen Fever (2015)

Rating: 5.5/10

What is it: A short film that follows Disney's Frozen

I don't even think Disney expected Frozen to be as successful as it was. Fans are pretty ravenous for a sequel I should think, so a short film to tide them over is certainly welcome. Too bad it's nothing more than fan service centered around an unmemorable song. Seriously, I can't remember how the song even goes. "Let It Go" this is not (sorry by the way for putting it into your head). Fans of Frozen will probably love the references to the movie as well as the cute little "Snowgies," but this little short left me pretty cold. I guess it's nice having everybody back for a nice little 8 minute romp, but animation is all this short really has going for it.

February 13th

 

On the Road (2012)

Rating: 6/10

What is it: An adaptation of Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac's novel of the same name

I've never delved into much literature beyond the myriad of fantasy novels that I cling to, but I have a bit of an idea of what the Beat Generation writers were going for. I don't feel like Walter Salles does though. With all the drinking, drug-taking, partying, sex and general debauchery that happens in On the Road, where's the energy? The entire film feels like a stylish, directionless slog and it really shouldn't. Garrett Hedlund is the highlight of this film, easily outshining Sam Riley who plays the main character. It was nice seeing Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Buscemi and Terrence Howard in minor roles, but I admit that I was glad once this was over.