Tag Archives: Movie Reviews

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER

Now what we have here is a semi-failure to communicate. After a great set up and hilarious first 20 minutes, this comedy turns into a meander, cliched additional half hour that goes unfortunately where it is expected to. HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER could’ve been one of the first fantastic PG-13 comedies in a long time. The first 20 minutes showed completely that this didn’t necessarily need to be Rated R to be funny. This was supposed Eugenio Derbez’s big breakout from doing great Spanish comedies like the huge hit Instructions Not Included, to mixing it up with some American finesse and cast members, but the movie falls flat because of the cliches and familiar story. After the first 20 minutes, the movie is only sporadically amusing.

And I keep going on about the first 20 minutes, but trust me, those first 20 minutes are fantastic. In case you haven’t heard of this movie, it’s about a young man, at a very young age, wanting to just marry an older woman (basically be a trophy husband), never have to work while enjoying her riches, waiting for her to die, and then getting all the money to himself. We see him getting the older woman, him growing up himself, and what his life is like married to her, which is the first great part of the movie. But then instead of going the route it should’ve gone, which was she dies but he has to learn to work to keep up those riches that she earned during her lifetime, instead the movie has her cheat on him with Michael Cera (yeah, I know) and he has to stay with his estranged sister and his small 10 year old nephew (you see where this is going don’t you), and he tries to find another old rich wife, but also learns to…love the family he already has. Sigh.

You can tell why I sighed and maybe you signed as well while reading this. Why did this movie decide to go that familiar route? I mean the whole concept shows he doesn’t have to work for riches so why not flip that? Granted he has to work in this, but just enough to get by, and it barely shows him trying to scrounge up for money. It mainly goes the route of teaching his nephew inappropriate shit, they share a bond, so him and his sister, played by the gorgeous Selma Hayek, develop a bond too. And then you can guess that shit happens because of him that threaten to tear apart that bond, yada, yada, yada, redemption, yada, yada, yada, end of movie.

Maybe they had those great 20 minutes and didn’t know what the fuck to do with it, so they looked in the “Plain Screenwriting 101 Handbook,” and this is what they came up with. At least I can say that it isn’t Eugenio Derbez’s fault, because he didn’t write the movie, he just brought his charisma to it. And his charisma works because he is the most watchable part of the movie. In fact there is nothing wrong with any of the acting, the complete problem is the story. Selma Hayek is great in this and the son is great in this. Kristen Bell has a bit part as someone that tries to help Derbez when he’s down on his luck and she’s cute and lovable in what she does. But she isn’t hilarious. In another story, as another character, she could’ve been fantastic.

The film isn’t terrible, it’s just an amusing throwaway one time watch. Definitely not a must see theater watch, but maybe a rental surrounded by family and friends. Or hell, maybe I didn’t get much of the Spanish humor and maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much? No clue. This review is just my opinion. I would like to see Eugenio Derbez in more American stuff though. He is a great character actor and knows when to throw in a good punch line. It’s just the screenplay wasn’t filled with many of them.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: KING ARTHUR LEGEND OF THE SWORD (Early Review!!! Comes out May 12th)

Imagine that the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies and Zack Snyder’s 300 fucked and had a baby. That baby would be KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD.  Now depending if you liked either of those films or not is going to tell whether you like this movie or not. If you hated both of them, stay away. If you liked one of them, you might enjoy this. If you thought both were pretty cool, then you’ll think this is cool too. As for my opinion? I’m option three. I really like the first 300 and both Sherlock Holmes movies (prefer the underrated superior second film) and so I really liked this.

Granted, this is no masterpiece and this won’t win any awards, but damn it if I didn’t really enjoy myself. And all of it is probably due to director Guy Ritchie. Guy Ritchie could’ve just shot this straight, making something akin to the horrible Snow White and the Huntsman films. Those films are just journey’s that go from beginning to end with no stylistic presence, straightly told, often boring, waiting for the next action scene to happen. Well in this film, Guy Ritchie puts all that shit, throws it in a blender, adds his own ingredients, takes it out, bakes it, chops it up some more, fries it, and then serves it on a platter to his audience.

If you still don’t get it, let me give you an example. Even the fucking scenes with dialogue and explanations are editing and cut fast and furiously, with Ritchie’s stylistic taste for rapid succeeding shots and dialogue to make something that would ultimately be pointless and boring, into something light, funny, entertaining, yet dazzle your eyes with it’s complexity. We get an awesome montage at the beginning of the film showing Arthur growing up, with cool music and fast beats that any other director would shoot slow, steady, and ultimately end up as a snore fest of 10 to 15 minutes. The montage scene is about 3 minutes, frantic, and shows the audience everything they need to know while keeping them intrigued.

The actions scenes where Arthur has to go out and prove himself/do something to further his journey are insane too. Instead of giving explanations of what he must do and then do it, (which would take almost half the movies run time), he splices the explanation with Arthur already doing what he needs to do, at an energetic pace to keep the plot and run time moving instead of slowing anything down. Because this movie does not slow down, at all. It is in your face and gives audience what they deserve: a very decent, yet another retelling of the Arthur and Excalibur legend.

Remember that boring shit one with Clive Owen and Keira Knightly? Yeah, we don’t get that here. That movie was too down to earth. Here we get giant city flattening elephants, mage’s with wicked powers, 300 slo-mo sword fights and bad-assery, cool chase scenes and half way decent special effects. Any director would take forever with Arthur pulling the sword out of the stone (probably would be at the halfway mark in a movie if anyone else did it), but Ritchie gets that shit out of the way 20 minutes in. I think he even winks at the audience as Arthur is waiting in line to pull the sword, gets tired of waiting, and cuts everyone else in line just to get it over with.

And remember by earlier review for Charlie Hunnam’s The Lost City of Z and how fantastic of an actor he was in that? Well he is awesome in this too and wishes he does stuff like this more often. Jude Law is a pretty decent bad guy but I wish I got a little bit more of him in this. The supporting cast is good too even though they are limited in what they have story wise.

But yes, this is the best King Arthur adaptation since Disney’s The Sword and the Stone. No doubt in my opinionated mind. For two hours I was up in my seat, eyes glued to the screen, not expecting to get a cool frantic tale like this…was really expecting something slow and boring. But this, this is anything but boring. Guy Ritchie knows how to make an entertaining film. He knows that the audience can go to sleep at the snap of the fingers, but he knows to be right in front of you with a bullhorn the entire runtime, just to make sure you are paying attention.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: PHOENIX FORGOTTEN

I think this movie did such little business this past weekend that theaters are likely to forget they even had this and toss it out in a week or two. Which is a shame because it is actually one of the better found footage movies out there to exist. Why? Because PHOENIX FORGOTTEN changes the formula a bit to make things more interesting than just similar like Paranormal Activity or Blair Witch or Cloverfield. And while it isn’t scary (I didn’t watch a trailer because at being only 85 minutes I thought a trailer would spoil it, so maybe it’s just supposed to be sci-fi), it is very entertaining and contains better than average acting for your typical found footage film.

So how does this found footage film change the formula a little you may ask? Because it is only half a found footage film. Half of the film is shot steady documentary, clip, news footage style, and the other half of the film is a found footage film. The whole film uses the 1997 Phoenix Lights real phenomenon that happened and adds a lot of fiction to the proceedings to turn it into a movie. The documentary half of the film follows a sister of one of the three lost people that disappeared shortly after the Phoenix Lights phenomenon happened, and she’s doing a documentary on the whole incident and trying to piece clues to her brother’s disappearance as well.

This part of the film is shot mostly steady style, with clips, and some found footage woven in between to make the film have a documentary type atmosphere. Add the better than average acting and the audience gets something that feels like an actual real documentary. This found footage movie feels real, more real than anything that has come before it. The found footage part of the film comes from tapes her brother left behind in a car that was found on the side of the road, and a “secret lost camera” (you “pffted” didn’t you? So did I but I swear that is really the only laughable idiotic thing in the film) that shows what happened after the tapes that were already in police evidence.

And you know the main problem with found footage movies? They are too fucking clean. Cloverfield is too clean, Blair Witch is too clean (even the original), the Paranormal Activity movies, some of them taking place in the 70s, 80s, whatnot, are WAY too clean. The found footage supposedly filmed in 1997? It actually feels like it was shot in 1997. Grainy sometimes as fuck, and sometimes blurry, it felt like I was watching found footage, and that was the kicker to take this film out of “only another found footage movie territory.” Even some of the CGI added in the 1997 found footage looks amazingly genuine. I was really invested in this entire thing.

It is too bad that the found footage movie genre is almost basically dead. The last several Paranormal movies didn’t do shit at the box office and neither did Blair Witch. And this didn’t make that much money although it should easily retain it’s small 4 million dollar budget. If this had come out at the height of those movies, like around the 1st or 2nd Paranormal pictures, this would’ve done really really well. Maybe it will develop a cult following once it is released on home video. I encourage you to check it out at least once, it is interesting, and might be the cure to your found footage movie fatigue.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: COLOSSAL

YES!! Finally! A great (dare I say really great) movie out of all the good or subpar ones this weekend! COLOSSAL is what Hollywood should do when it runs out of ideas. Instead of simple remakes, reboots, and what not, take a concept that has been done a million times before but wrap it around an entirely new engaging, thought provoking story, filled with great twists and turns and spectacular performances. And then release a trailer for the film that while it still makes the film look unique and fun, hide all of the secrets in the marketing to completely shock people.

Yes, I’ll repeat that. The trailer from this film holds so much back from you it’s not even funny. When some of the stuff I hadn’t seen yet hit the screen, I couldn’t believe the marketing people for this kept it out of everything including a lot of reviews. Don’t worry! I will not spoil it’s richness here. I’ll just talk about the non-spoilery basic fluff to try and convince you to go and see this film as soon as possible. If you still don’t know what this film is by the title I’ll remind you. It’s that weird Kaiju (probably spelling that wrong) movie with Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudiekis where Hathaway somehow controls a Kaiju monster that is attacking Seoul, South Korea all the way from the states.

And the reasons why are some of the fun parts that I dare not spoil. I’ll start out by saying that this is my favorite Anne Hathaway performance, much better than her 15 minute Oscar gold one from Les Miserables, but a fantastic display of a 2 hour full-fledged fleshed out character. And this is also Jason Sudiekis’ best performance as well as he gets to stretch out some of his acting chops as well.

GOD, it is really hard to not spoil this thing without telling you why it is so great. Just trust me, as more of the story unfolds, the more original and fresh it becomes. By the end I would’ve stood up and applauded if the filmmakers were in the room watching it with me. It is that fantastic. My wife saw it with me, and again, without getting too much into it, she wondered if some of the actions from some of the characters were warranted, saying that “it didn’t explain why well enough.” I told her it didn’t have to explain it, it did the best thing in the cinematic world by “showing and not telling” and after I explained some of the visual cues she landed on my side of things.

The special effects are great and what little action there is is effective and only pertains to the story, not trying to Michael Bayalize everything. This film is smart, charming, daring, brilliant, funny, shocking, every reason why people go to the movies in the first place. It weaves a perfect yarn and this is one I would like to show to friends who haven’t seen it, study it as a filmmaker, and watch it over and over again for pure enjoyment. Great, great film.