Archive for the Comedy Category

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Posted in 5 Stars, Action, Comedy, Drama, New Movie, Review, video games with tags , , , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by russellsreviews

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is  very appropriately named. Just like Scott is fighting for love and the social status quo, so is the film itself fighting against really every other movie ever made. Scott Pilgrim vs the World doesn’t pull any punches or ask itself how can I make this work for the mass audience.  Just watching the trailer for this film a lot of people will just think oh well a geeky flashy film for the “Gamer” generation, but they couldn’t be farther from the actual truth. There is always a balance between style and substance. Scott Pilgrim manages a rare feat. It says you can massive amounts of both.

Scott Pilgrim is your less than normal guy. He doesn’t have that many friends and just enjoys just hanging out, playing video games, and listening to music more than partying. He is socially challenged which more guys can relate to than you know. Scott meets Ramona Flowers, literally the girl of his dreams, at a party and luckily manages to get a date. There is just one problem. Actually seven problems. All of Ramona’s Exes have formed a evil league that dedicate to make her life miserable and kill anyone she dates.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World is based of a indie comic by Bryan Lee O’Malley and doesn’t hide from that fact. Every comic movie before always asked itself OK how can I make this work in the real world. To director Edgar Wright credit this one doesn’t. He didn’t try to make a movie but hide where its from or who its for. The action is fast and every punch or feeling gets animated with text straight of a comic. They even use parts of the comic for flashbacks. Its not just comics, the film is overloaded with pop culture and video game call backs. The Universal studios title sequence alone got me grinning more than any movie in years. If you pay attention all of the music cues in the film are done with famous 8 bit music from Zelda and Mario.

Scott Pilgrim isn’t just love letter to geeks, it has surprisingly emotional stuff. The romantic elements will have your heart pounding and rooting for someone more than half of romantic movies made nowadays. Scott Pilgrim does a great job of giving people an accurate telling of whats going on in nice guys head when trying to get the girl.  The film also has a great coming of age story for most of its characters and you can see real growth on how to deal with relationships and other people’s feelings. If Scott Pilgrim vs. the World didn’t have all these things going for it it would have just been simply amusing and then quickly faded and forgotten. These issues give the film true staying power.

The movie just hit all the right notes for me. Not just the story, but how everything was cut, transitioned, and brought out with such enthusiasm just made it unbelievably awesome. The movie’s really only flaw is that unless you grew up on going to the comic shop on Wednesdays, staying up late at night on soda playing Nintendo, or experience true rejection pretty much most of the jokes might seem over the top to you. Normally I take things like that into count when I rate the movie, but this movie is so special and unique I have to only look at who it’s trying to reach and accomplish and it did that in spades. Although, even if your not a geek gamer there is still tons of things to love and get. I hope this becomes like the movie Inception and people recognize that there are still fantastic movies being made and go out and see it. The biggest compliment I can give is the Scott Pilgrim vs the World really has just created a new genre that I hope grows and lives on.

5 STARS

Kick Ass Review

Posted in 4 Stars, Action, Comedy, New Movie, Review with tags , , , , , , on April 25, 2010 by russellsreviews

Lets face it, there has been a lot of movies based of comics the past few years. You knew with hits like Wanted, 300, and Iron Man that soon every movie studio under the sun was going to try to take a stab at it. Soon the movie industry was littered with average to just plain awful comic book adaptations. From just looking at the previews people unfamiliar might think Kick Ass is just another average comic book film, however nothing could be farther from the truth. Kick Ass stands on its own and brings something original to the table.

Dave Lizewski is just an average high school student with problems that every nerd, geek, outcast, or loner can relate to. He doesn’t have many friends, most kids make fun of him, and the only thing he is really good at is being invisible to the opposite sex. One day walking home Dave and two friends get robbed while someone just stands there and watches it happen. This event sparks a desire in him that maybe he can be a somebody and make a difference in the world. Dave’s soultion? Yep, become a superhero!

What sets Kick Ass apart from all the other movies is that its actually based in the real world. He doesn’t have super powers or super rich with tons of gadgets. All he is an average Joe who just wants to help people and stand up for them. His first attempt at crime fighting goes horribly wrong with him stopping no one, gets his “ass kicked”, and takes months to recover. Whats also cool is that the movie touches upon what a superhero in this day and age has to deal with being put on you tube or facebook. To help fight crime he creates a facebook page where people can vent there problems or make requests for Kick Ass to right the wrongs. His success won’t last sadly, and it doesn’t take long for the real world to finally catch up to him. The movie shifts enter a new gear and shows you just how messed up you have to be to really commit to fighting crime. Enter the real superheroes Hit Girl and Big Daddy.

Nicolas Cage  as big daddy and Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl steal the show. Especially Chloe Moretz, who after this role might just be considered the best child actor. This is where I feel sorry for Aaron Johnson who plays Dave. Aaron does a great job and prob is the best actor for that role, but Hit Girl and big Daddy are such cool and dynamic characters I think every viewer will wish they got more screen time. All of the terrific fight scenes are through them. I know that no matter you ultimately might feel about the movie you will at least walk away from it loving these two characters. Seriously, they are iconic characters that will be remembered for years to come.

Kick Ass is one of those films that what make it ground breaking and unique to some also make it a little confusing and silly for others. Most comic movies change some things to make more appealing for the masses, not Kick Ass. It doesn’t hold many punches back and its a comic book film for comic fans. Unless you know the pain of being a comic geek some of the humor will fly over you and come off awkward. Even if your not really a comic fan, I still feel the movie is enough of a rush to entertain you anyway. My one complaint is that even though all of that is said,  the movie still didn’t go far enough. For example, Dave ends up getting the girl and they don’t go into as much detail about his father not accepting him. Still, Kick Ass is one great ride that will be in the hearts for some and a fun time for others.

4 STARS

Shaolin Girl review

Posted in 3.5 Stars, Action, Comedy, Foreign, New Movie, Review on June 11, 2009 by russellsreviews

Stephen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer is one of the most successful Asian films of all time and finally put Stephen Chow on the map in America. To try to piggy back on the success of that film, here comes Shaolin Girl. At first glace this looks like Japan’s version of Shaolin Soccer but with a girls lacrosse team, but it does branch off enough to be worth a look.

The movie starts off with almost the same idea, Rin, a shaolin trainer, moves back to  Japan with dreams of bringing back the all but forgotten shaolin martial art in her home country. Finding very little interest from anyone, she gets the idea of joining a local college girls lacrosse team and show off her abilities in hopes that it gains a new audience to want to study the ancient art. One of the cool things about this movie is even though this movie was made in Japan and has really has nothing to do with Shaolin Soccer it still has enough homages and familiar faces to feel like a sequel . About the time the team learns how to work together and starts to see the benefits of learning shaolin is when the movie breaks away a little. Shaolin Girl from then on becomes more of a kung fu movie and feels less like a Shaolin Soccer clone.

The kung fu in this movie is pretty good and each fight scene is better than the last, but only the final fight scene will make you think wow. Most of the action really has been done before but its executed enough to please most martial art fans. The fight scene taking place entirely on water is the one that will stay with you. Shaolin Girl never quite hits the magic or cords they were banking on, but if your a major fan of these types of movies there is a lot to enjoy.

3.5 STARS

UP Review

Posted in 5 Stars, Animation, Comedy, New Movie, Review, Uncategorized on June 2, 2009 by russellsreviews

What’s starting to become the norm, every summer Pixar releases a new movie with a trailer for their next one. This year’s big release is UP, a story of the adventures an old man and a young boyscout floating in a house by thousands of balloons. I have to admit just by seeing the trailers I wasn’t as up for it as pixar past greats. The movie looked like it would be good, but not as iconic. However, I was wrong. UP is just as memorable as Finding Nemo, Cars,Toy Story, and Monster’s Inc. In fact, UP actually pulls at your heart strings more than any of those films.

Pixar’s movies have always been full of fun, energy, and soul for all ages, but this one really will make you laugh and cry young or old. Up has a shockingly mature story. Carl as a child wanted nothing more than to be like his idol Charles Muntz and dream to one day explore the place Muntz always wrote about, Paradise Falls.. One day while playing around in the neighborhood he meets Ellie, a talkative fellow adventurer . Through a brilliant montage you then see the two grow up together, fall deeper in love, get married, and show them  grow old together. When the day comes  when Karl finally saves enough money to take Ellie Paradise Falls, he rushes home only find Ellie has passed away. The montage of their happy days together just before was so powerful and moving that you care more about her death, and feel Karl’s pain more than majority of movies where they take the whole film to develop . Years later when Karl wraps  i up in daily life and even starts to calling the house they built as Ellie, you completely understand the state of mind he is in.

One day when Karl is basically forced to move out of this very important house, he decides to attach thousands of balloons to the roof and take the house with him, only he makes one mistake and accidently brings along a local boyscout. The boyscout Russell throughout Karl’s journey to escape to paradise falls gives him a much needed boost and reminds him of how he used to be. On their quest they meet up with Karl and Ellie’s childhood idol, crazy birds, and even hilarious ”talking” dogs. One of the such dogs, Dug, befriends the group and helps them along the way. All of these characters provide great fun and humor, but really makes UP stand out and put it up their with the elite is how the story of how Karl dealt with loosing his soul mate through the whole movie.

All Pixar movies have funny characters and a great life lesson, but this lesson is mostly for the adults and will make even the hardest heart melt. With most movies nowadays being either too kiddy, or too dark, its refreshing to see a movie like this especially in the summer. Pixar still has it and I don’t think any other move company in animation or live action can match the heart and soul they routinely put out. Leaving the theater after seeing UP will leave your heart will feeling twice as big and have a new found love for dogs.

5 STARS