Monthly Archives: December 2010

Little Fockers

Returning for another go-around are the Fockers and the Byrnes in Little Fockers. Yes they are back. Director Paul Weitz takes over for Jay Roach and decides to bring the families back for another installment of films that brought us 2000’s Meet The Parents and 2004’s Meet The Fockers.

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Episode 52: TRON Legacy

TRON: Legacy hit theaters and we weren’t far behind.  This week Toor and Mike head into the Grid to test their binary code and do some light cycling. Listen as they discuss the sci-fi homage, manic Michael, and wild Olivia.

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Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is a big movie star. He lives at Chateau Marmont, and his life is an endless cycle of cigarettes, press junkets, parties, aimless driving, and random women. He’s bored, he’s hollow, he’s unhappy – will his life change when he’s forced to take care of his 11-year-old daughter for a few weeks? Why would anybody even allow him to take care of his 11-year-old daughter for a few weeks?

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Devil’s DVD Disappointment: Resident Evil: Afterlife

Primarily, and most importantly, this latest installment in the Resident Evil series is worse than watching The Biggest Loser on one of their 100 degree, summer days. I’d sooner drink the pan drippings from my Foreman grill than watch this…thing again; an act which is undoubtedly less healthy physically, but will help me to retain more brain cells. Just a mind numbing, miserable excuse of a project. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: The American

Clooney is a little too comfortable with that gun.

At no point in my mind did I envision The American as being an action filled, hitman thriller.    The footage that was presented did not imply or intimate any such thing.  In fact, I was expecting something along the lines of The Professional, mixed with a touch of Grosse Point Blank, only with much less action and comedy.  Instead, the film is a case study of a man that is looking for a reason to leave his lamentable career, but has difficulty mustering the courage to do so.  Read the rest of this entry

12 Days of Christmas: Black Christmas (Bonus Review)

Black Christmas is a 1974 horror movie that freaked out a whole bunch of people when it was released. This movie is considered a classic horror movie from the crazy days of 1970’s Hollywood. This was a time in movie making history when filmmakers took risks and had to do things by improvising. New ideas that we take for granted now were first tried during those crazy days. A lot of those ideas are on display in this one movie.

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12 Days of Christmas: It’s A Wonderful Life

When it comes to the ultimate Christmas movie, for me it’s a toss-up between three great classics. With my colleagues covering National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story, I get the third film, It’s A Wonderful Life. Made in 1946, seven years before even my parent being born, this film is loved and adored in my heart.

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12 Days of Christmas: A Christmas Story

Most people love the holiday season because of all the beautiful, decorative Christmas displays in the stores, the christmas lights, the chance that it WILL snow on Christmas, and the general feeling of giving and love. And there is no better example of this love for Christmas than the classic Christmas tale, A Christmas Story. Originally, this movie was not a huge success. But over the past 10 or so years, its has become almost a Christmas cult-classic movie.

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TRON: Legacy

People who go see a film like TRON: Legacy and then complain that there isn’t enough story or character development are the same people who claim to read Playboy for the articles.  Now, that was a bit facetious, but in reality what were people expecting?  The first TRON was all about the visuals.  The first had the intrigue that goes with that new territory, but it’s not new anymore, so we’re left with amazing visuals. Read the rest of this entry

12 Days of Christmas: Bad Santa

Bad Santa was many things, but mostly it was John Ritter’s final film (taken way too soon).  Not only that, but Bernie Mac dies in the film, only to die a few years later at the ripe age of 51, also well before his time.  And now they want to make a sequel?  Put Billy Bob and that little fella on alert, because Bad Santa kills. Read the rest of this entry

12 Days of Christmas: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

It should come as no surprise that Christmas Vacation employs nearly every Christmas-related cliché in order to make the audience titter: the patriarch stumbling and bumbling with the twinkling lights, a family trip into the biting cold to bring home a mighty Tannenbaum, and getting shafted by the head honcho when it comes time for that elusive holiday bonus.  What is difficult to ascertain – since this movie has been entrenched in my memory for so long – is what clichés existed before Vacation exploited them and which became clichés because of it.

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The Fighter

The first thing we see when The Fighter begins is Dicky Ecklund being filmed for a boxing documentary. He’s definitely seen better days. Drugs have destroyed his body and mind. He shows the classic signs of a drug addict. Not just someone addicted to one drug. This is a person addicted to every drug. Ecklund talks about his career in the ring and the fight of his life against Sugar Ray. He talks about living on the rough streets of the suburbs of Boston, how drugs have changed his life but one day he’ll be back in the ring. He even mentions about how much he loves his little brother, Micky Ward. Ward’s a boxer working in the New England boxing scene. He says he hopes Micky makes it bigger in boxing than he did.

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12 Days of Christmas: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

When deciding to do this review, I had trouble deciding whether to write about the original 1966 short of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas or Ron Howard’s 2000 version starring Jim Carrey. So I decided I will write about both the 26 minute short that majority of us grew up with and the live action version and somewhat compare the two.

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Devil’s DVD Disappointment: Salt

What happens when a CIA officer (Angelina Jolie) is revealed to be a deep cover double agent? One long chase scene involving some incredible over the top action sequences and clever storytelling.

Angelina Jolie heads up a great ensemble cast of some very talented actors in this thriller. Jolie plays Evelyn Salt. A seemingly loyal and patriotic CIA spy. We first meet her as she’s being rescued from North Korea by her loving husband (August Diehl) and CIA chief (Liev Schreiber). Back in the States after her rescue, Agent Salt finds herself interrogating a Russian defector who asks to be interviewed by the CIA. The defector talks. Too much it turns out and we’re off. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Devil

At the Chicago Comic-Con we had a chance to catch up with directors Drew and John Dowdle and had a conversation about their latest film, Devil.

Give us a listen, not for us, but for the talented brother/director team and their nuggets of wisdom.

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12 Days of Christmas: Tokyo Godfathers

It’s Christmas Eve, and as the rest of Tokyo is out enjoying the night, homeless friends Gin, Hana, and Miyuki are, quite literally, just trying to scrape by. While digging through a trash heap, they make a startling find: an abandoned newborn baby girl. Hana sees the child as a Christmas miracle and vows to be the mother that she herself never had. Gin and Miyuki want to turn her in to the police. After some debate, Hana finally agrees, on the sole condition that they first track down the baby’s parents to ask them why they abandoned the child, to see if a life shuttled back and forth in the foster care system really would be preferable to life with parents who would abandon their own child. And so begin the exciting, dramatic, sometimes sad, and frequently hilarious adventures of the Tokyo Godfathers.

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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

It was 1987 when Michael Douglas portrayed a character so profound, that despite Director Oliver Stone’s intentions, the character became an icon.  That character was Gordon Gekko and he became the symbol for what was wrong in the late 80’s with Wall Street.  It has been 23 years since Douglas uttered those famous words “Greed is Good” and as he reemerge’s from the shadows of obscurity, he brings with him a sense that what is wrong with Wall Street is not just Wall Street but us.  Oliver Stone in this sequel once again tackles the question of  how money can erode a man’s ethics.

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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Easy A

Emma Stone gets an easy A for her brilliant performance as a teenager ridden with angst and turmoil due to a simple lie. With nods to Nathaniel Hawthorne and John Hughes, this film is a wonderful mix of comedy, coming of age, young love, and relevance. Emma Stone is fantastic as Olive Penterghast, a smart but unnoticed girl in your typical public school. One weekend, her best friend asks her to come camping with her strange nudist vegan family and Olive creates an excuse of a date with a guy to avoid eating bugs in the woods. After the weekend, Olive tells Rihanna (Alyson Michalka) of the magical weekend she had with her fake weekend date (when she really just hung around the house). A fellow goody-two shoe religious freak classmate (annoyingly played by Amanda Bynes–not a good role for her) spreads the rumor, which ends up spiraling out of control. As the lies and rumors get bigger and uglier, Olive starts to embrace her newfound popularity and reputation. She buys “slutty” clothes and brands them with a scarlet A to make a statement. Eventually, everyone involved in Olive’s web of lies gets hurt by the consequences of her actions. Read the rest of this entry

Episode 51: Spotlight on Harrison Ford

Each month we spotlight a different actor or director and last month was Harrison Ford.  For the first time ever we are doing a follow up to one of our spotlights and who better to feature than Han Solo himself.

Give us a listen, even if you do have a bad feeling about this.

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Random Rewind: Lone Wolf and Cub Saga

Lone Wolf and Cub is a period samurai manga (Japanese comic) that was written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Goseki Kojima in 1970. Six films were made in Japan from 1972-1974 based on the manga.  In 1980 a movie using edited parts from the first two Lone Wolf and Cub films was released as Shogun Assassin for western audiences.  In this week’s column I’m going to talk about, give information and compare the originals with what initially got released here in the west. Read the rest of this entry

12 Days of Christmas: Silent Night, Deadly Night

For those playing the home game, this movie is definitely not for kids and not your typical Christmas movie. There are some seriously disturbing scenes in this. If you can track it down, it is worth a watch for horror fans and particularly slasher horror fans. I had to hunt for it since I had never seen it. You have been warned.

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12 Days of Christmas: Die Hard & Harder

Die Hard is, without a doubt, a shining example of the 80’s action genre. Is it, or it’s sequel, Die Harder, a Christmas movie? Not strictly speaking, but they do take place on Christmas Eve, and Die Hard almost entirely at a Christmas party. And one of it’s most memorable lines says “ho ho ho.” So that’s something. Read the rest of this entry

12 Days of Christmas: Santa’s Slay

Santa’s Slay is one of those movies that you hear of but quite don’t get around watching. Then when you actually do watch it, you kick yourself for not watching it sooner. It’s basically a comedy-horror Christmas movie that doesn’t take itself seriously and achieves laughs from start to finish intentionally and unintentionally.

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The Tourist

Sharing the screen for the first time is mega blockbuster actors Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. With two major draws like that the movie can’t miss….right?! Past films have shown us that there are hits and misses for this recipe. For every Mr. & Mrs. Smith there is a Gigli or even an Australia.

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The Tourist (Devil’s Advocate Review)

Here’s the set-up: guy meets girl, guy almost gets killed because of girl. In this basic storyline we see Elise Ward (Angelina Jolie) is being watched by the French Police, and gets a mysterious letter from an even more mysterious Alexander Pearce. She is told to get rid of the cops and take a train to Venice. She does so, and meets Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp) on the train. She was also instructed to find a man with the same height and build as Pearce and make the cops think this decoy is the real thing. Angelina hooks her charms into Frank, and he almost immediately falls in love with her and keeps coming back to help her out of close-to-death situations. Soon, people think Frank is Alexander Pearce, and a bounty is put on him. Everyone tries to hand Frank over to the gangsters Pearce had stolen money from, but Frank always gets away. It becomes an international cat and mouse game which takes unexpected turns.

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12 Days of Christmas: Elf

Could you do a film like 2003’s Elf with anybody other than Will Ferrell?  35 years ago the role would’ve been tailor made for Steve Martin.  25 years ago, Robin Williams perhaps.  Now a bit too old to play a role like Buddy the Elf, the role goes to Ferrell, the master of childlike bewilderment for adults.  And I couldn’t be happier about it. Read the rest of this entry

12 Days of Christmas: Eight Crazy Nights

Yes, Hanukkah Harry, there is a Hanukkah Movie. Although I do love December because every channel airs classic holiday movies, such as A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street, and It’s a Wonderful Life. But wait, what about Hanukkah movies? There really aren’t any besides Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights.

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12 Days of Christmas: Scrooged

I’ll admit it’s been awhile since I watched Scrooged, especially in its entirety. Proof of that is the fact that my wife who I’ve been with for almost seven years has never seen it. I forgot how much I loved this film. It’s classic Bill Murray. I was only 10 when this came out and didn’t see it for the first time a few years later. Even then I loved it and watching it last night brought back all those same feelings was thrilled to see my wife enjoy it almost as much as I do.

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12 Days of Christmas Spotlight

Here at The Devil’s Advocates Movie Reviews, we decided to do a segment counting down to Christmas. Each month we do a spotlight featuring a certain actor or director, but this month we are changing things up for the holidays. Each day starting tomorrow a different movie will be posted related to the holiday. Some obvious, and some more obscure, but all having some connection to this time of the year being Christmas and Hanukkah. We will bring traditional, comedy, and even horror to this festive time. Join us each day leading up to the 25th and read a new review.

Thank you and happy holidays to all of you from all of us at The Devil’s Advocates Movie Reviews.

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: The Town

When I went to school the nuns only used small arms, no automatic weapons.

I’m just going to start with saying I will not be able to look at a nun now without envisioning a machine gun in hand.  An old stereotype is to say that catholic nun’s are strict and weld a ruler like no other.  Well…..this movie however has me thinking that is a thing of the past and now are more modernized for our time.

Great….just started my review and I’m already off track. Read the rest of this entry