Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Incredible Hulk: HULK SMASH!

Sometimes, before I write my own review, I read what others have had to say. I know, I shouldn't do that, it might taint my own opinion. But I do. and I have a question for some of the other reviewers out there regarding The Incredible Hulk.

What the hell were you expecting? Dr. Zhivago? It's a Beautiful Life? The Godfather, maybe? Fiddler on the Roof, hmm?

This is THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Wanna know what it's about? A guy who gets pissed off every now and then, and turns into a giant green monster who smashes the crap out of everything in sight. So you know what you need to be in the mood for before you go see it?

Yeah- a giant green monster smashing the crap out of everything in sight.

And you wanna know what I was in the mood for when I went to see it? A giant green monster. Smashing the crap out of everything in sight.

And you know what they gave me? EVERYTHING I WANTED, AND MORE.

This movie was friggin AWESOME. He tears a cop car in half- IN HALF- with his BARE HANDS- and uses the halves as BOXING GLOVES. What's not to like here??

There is no message here, beyond the obvious metaphor regarding controlling your anger. There is no attempt to win an Oscar going on here. I didn't go to see this in hopes of being lifted up on cloud 9 and taught to be a better person.

I came to watch a giant green monster smash the crap out of everything he could possibly smash the crap out of. And I was entertained.

I am giving The Incredible Hulk a 9 out of 10, for smashing the crap out of everything in sight. And I am giving other reviewers the bird for thinking they were going to see Ben Hur, or The Sound of Music.

The Happening: Happening Now at a Theater Near You.

Have you heard of M. Night Shyamalan? He's a brilliant young director who many have hailed as the "New Alfred Hitchcock." I don't think anyone believes that moniker any more than he does, and this movie almost comes across as a business card with "The New Alfred Hitchcock" emblazoned across the top of it.

I guess it doesn't outright rip off movies like "The Birds" and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", but if you've ever seen those movies and their ilk, this one will feel awwwwwwfully familiar to you.

That's not a bad thing. It's kind of nice to watch a creepy, End-of-the-World-as-We-Know-It movie every so often. They don't make enough of those anymore. Horror has been abdicated to the cliche' in recent years. It used to be the launching pad for new talent; now it's the cemetery for has-been Big name stars. It seems that every single film takes place in the dead of night, in a darkened house, with someone sneaking up behind someone else at some point in the film, and some creepy, jerky, twisted-human-form special effects thrown in. Yaaaaaaaaaaawn.... is that really scaring anyone anymore?

This one takes place in the bright, glaring sunlight, from beginning to end, and while I hesitate in calling it "original", I don't in calling it "skillful". It's not easy to scare an audience in broad daylight, but he does it. He does, however, resort to some in-your-face shocking moments to put fear into your heart, and that was somewhat of a disappointment to me. It almost seems like cheating.

So if you have a strong stomach and you like to be creeped out, and especially if you're a fan of his earlier films, go ahead and see this one. You're more likely than not to enjoy it. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Kung Fu Panda- There is No Charge for Awesomeness!

When I wrote my Summer Movie Preview, I placed this film on my list of "Upcoming Movies that are Going to Suck." My sincerest apologies to everyone out there who missed this film because of that. This is hands down one of my favorites so far this summer.

Let me explain my mistake: Kung Fu Panda. I thought to myself, "Oh great, they exhausted the Penguin motif, so now they're going to overdo the Panda films." Well, it's still quite possible they will, but don't miss out on this because of that; save your silent stay-at-home protests for the later, lesser films in the genre that are sure to come.

This story has your typical "Every-Day Guy Dreaming of Bigger-and-Better Things" theme to it, accompanied by that "We All Have a Champion Inside Us" cliche'. But come on, it has an enormously fat panda doing Kung Fu, and it has JACK BLACK humor to boot! And let me just say, after seeing this, I vote that all Kung Fu movies be required to stage their fight scenes with CGI cartoon animals instead of live actors.

I'm giving this an 8 out of 10, and I'm going to recommend it to everyone, even if you don't have kids! Bring along a niece or nephew or something though, because single guys alone in cartoon movies always look like pedofiles.

You Don't Laugh During The Zohan (very much)

I have never been a huge Adam Sandler movie, and I have to admit that this review is tainted with that existing bias. I have always thought his movies were full of half-developed humor, and this one is no exception. You watch it start a gag , you start to smile as it develops, and then suddenly they have moved on, and you realize they weren't laying out the groundwork for a great gag, but rather, that WAS the gag. That's all you get. Sometimes you laugh, but most of the time you just kinda-sorta smile.

Well, smiling's good, right? Not worth $9 and 2 hours in a theater, but if you have a Friday night free in a few months and you see this movie at the local Red Box, I say go ahead and rent it. You could do better, sure, but you could also do much worse.

Zohan is a former Mossad agent who fakes his own death so he can abscond himself off to New York City and fulfill his true life-long ambition of being a hairdresser who bangs fat old ladies in the backroom after making their hair silky-smooth. No, seriously, that's the plot. You're surprised? This comes from the guy who made a movie about an adult who finishes grade school, and a hockey player who becomes a golfer.

It's full of crotch jokes and sophomoric sexual humor. It has a few mediocre visual gags, lots of Jew-vs.-Arab humor (who knew that even existed?) and a lot of hummus jokes. In two hours, I laughed out loud maybe half a dozen times, smiled maybe a dozen more, and made an "ew" face three or four times, but never out-right vomited, although my gag reflex was triggered twice.

This movie offers nothing of redeeming value, but then again, neither does Guitar Hero, so I say you flip a coin to decide between the two when you have a free weekend evening without a date.

I give this a 5 on a scale of 1-to-10. And who knows, I could be totally off about its socially-redeeming value. Maybe the leaders of Hamas will sit down and watch this with the Israeli Prime Minister, and in laughing and not quite puking together, they will see the foibles of their rocky relationship, and come together in the name of peace. Probably not, but what do I know? All I do is review movies.