Monthly Archives: November 2016

Bad Santa 2

Movie:  Bad Santa 2

Rating:  3 1/2 Stars

Review:   Willie Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) has definitely hit rock bottom.  He’s been a failure his whole life, can’t hold a job, is a small time thief and not even a good one.   Besides all that, has no friends.  That is, except for Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly), a boy who became attached to Willie 13 years ago when Willie was attempting a robbery, and now considers the man a father figure.  Thurman comes back into Willie’s life and grabs onto him, literally, and wants to celebrate his 21st birthday.  As eventful as that reunion was, enter the very devious dwarf Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox), who has a lucrative and criminal proposition for Willie.  To seal the deal, Mama Sokes (Kathy Bates) wheedles and cajoles her boy Willie into helping her and Marcus do one last job that will net them 2 million bucks.  Which would make a very Merry Christmas indeed!   All Willie has to do is put on the old Santa suit, one more time….

This movie is the definition of “guilty pleasure”.  If you liked Bad Santa from 2003, you will like this sequel even more.  Yes, it has vulgar language and too many F bombs to count, and nasty sexual scenes (no nudity).  But for all that, it has a whole bunch of hilarious laugh out loud moments.  Billy Bob Thorton is perfect as the jaded and depraved neer-do-well, with Tony Cox as his perfect comedy foil.  Bad ass Mom Kathy Bates is a hoot, even though she is only 7 years Thornton’s senior in real life.  Mix in befuddled man-child Brett Kelly, and hot to trot Christina Hendricks, you have a holiday treat at the local cinema.  Oscar worthy, not a chance.  Funny, hell yes!

Dialogue Nuggets (pretty much all the movie dialogue is vulgar):  Willie – “Let’s just say my whole life has been one long f*cking nightmare.”

Willie on past love- “You can only puke in someone’s lap so many times before the relationship turns to shit.”

Willie to Marcus – “Why are you even out of the joint?  They feel sorry for genetic defects?”

Marcus to Willie – “I’m talking two million here.  That’s a lot of fat ass bitches and whiskey.”

Willie the Santa – “When I put this suit on I feel like General MacArthur when he put his uniform on to kill all those Filipinos.”

Mama Sokes – “Don’t worry, I’m fine.”  Willie – “I’m not worried.  I just don’t want you to hork up your lung into my drink.”

Marcus – “How do I look?”  Willie – “You look like one of those trolls that gang-f*cked Willy Wonka.”

Willie the Santa – “What can I get you?”  Little Girl on Santa’s lap – “A penguin.  It doesn’t have to be alive.”

Thurman – “One time I ate too much turkey bacon, and I didn’t poop for four weeks.”

Musical Notes:  That voice of an angel singing Silent Night is not the actor; it’s some dude named Russell Morrell.  Movie opens up with one of my favorite Christmas songs, Santa Claus Is Back In Town by Elvis, of course.  Nitnoid fact:  Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were told to write a Christmas song for Elvis, and 15 minutes later finished Santa Claus Is Back In Town.

End Credits:  Don’t miss these.  Too funny….

 

 

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Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

Movie:  Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

Rating:   3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Super Short Review:   In 1926 New York City, really bizarre critters are on the loose.  Wizards with wands use crackerjack magic.  Look for major surprise cameo.  Amazing action and special effects; plot line, not so much.  If you liked Harry Potter, you will like this film.

Arrival

Movie:  Arrival

Rating:   4 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   The day has finally come when intelligent beings from another world have landed on earth.  Not just one spaceship, but twelve of them each located in a different country, massive in size and shaped like elongated eggs.  They hover a few feet above the surface of the ground, and whoever is inside make no effort to leave their ship.  Naturally a worldwide pandemonium breaks out speculating on their purpose, wondering if the aliens’ intentions are peaceful or hostile, and how to respond to the situation.  The stock market drops a whopping 2000 points the first day, and Americans go on a gun buying spree until the ATF puts a cap on new gun licenses.

The twelve governments hosting the alien space craft cautiously set up a network of communications to exchange information about the aliens, which is very little and slow to come by.  The chief obstacle is communication.  The aliens do have a method of communicating, but it is so radically different from humans that it may prove impossible to relate to the visitors.  The U.S. Army sends Col Weber (Forest Whitaker) to recruit the best linguist available, Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), and she is choppered to the top secret camp next to the alien craft along with physicist Dr. Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner).  They spearhead the labor intensive effort to determine how to talk to an alien species, and find out the crucial answer as to why they have come.

This is a terrific movie with an engrossing story that is delivered by an A list cast.  Having said that, a word of caution to movie goers who associate stories about aliens coming to earth with movies like War Of The Worlds and Independence Day, cause this movie is nothing like those action flicks.  For lack of a better word, this is a cerebral experience that forces the viewer to be patient, and pay close attention to connect the dots as the scientists painstakingly work to understand the aliens.  There is suspense that builds, and a satisfactory conclusion if you hang in for the ride.  I suspect if there is ever a real UFO landing, this is how governments would respond.   One of the best film experiences of the year.

Dialogue Nuggets:   Radio Caller – “If this is some sort of peaceful contact why send 12?  Why not just send one?”

Louise – “Why don’t we just talk to them before we start throwing math problems at them?”

TV Anchor – “800,000 march on Washington to protest their handling of the crisis.”

Ian to Louise – “I’m curious.  Are you dreaming in their language?”

Louise – “If all I ever gave you was a hammer.…”  Col Weber – “Everything becomes a nail.”

Louise – “Time isn’t the same for them, it’s non-linear.”

Chinese General Chang to Louise – “18 months ago you did something even my superior could not do.  You changed my mind.”

 

arrival

 

 

Doctor Strange

Title:  Doctor Strange

Rating:  4 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:  Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is the top neurosurgeon in New York City, maybe the whole country.  All you have to do is ask him and he’ll confirm that opinion, because in addition to being enormously talented he is supremely arrogant and egotistical.  His talent brings wealth, and he enjoys a penthouse apartment with a view, a dresser drawer with a dozen or so uber expensive watches, and he tear asses out of his private garage in a Lamborghini Huracan.

Yes, Doctor Strange has the world at his beck and call, even maintaining a close relationship with former lover Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams).  Nothing ever goes wrong, at least until that horrific accident, that is.  Then the great Doctor Strange is humbled, broken, unable to function as a doctor, and ultimately financially destitute.  Then a chance remark from a physical therapist sets him on a trail to Kathmandu in Tibet, on a quest to find a place known as Kamar-Taj.

The Doc shows up in Kathmandu and that’s when things start to get really strange for Strange.  Enter a very powerful and mystical individual known only as The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton).  She starts Strange on a path of enlightenment to open his eyes to other dimensions, astral planes, and amazing powers he never knew were possible.  He is aided in this journey by another disciple named Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and soon makes the acquaintance of former disciple Kaecillus (Mads Mikkelsen), who seems to have gone over to the dark side.  Apparently the universe, with its multi dimensions, is not big enough for the forces of good and evil to co-exist.

This is one rip snorting action film, and Marvel has shown once again that they are the masters of bringing comic book heroes successfully to the big screen (yes DC Comics, this is a put down on you).  Benedict Cumberbatch is an A List actor, and brings the origin story of Doctor Strange to life in a way that allows us to see the complex human that he is, as well as the complex action hero he evolves into.  A masterful performance that keeps us glued to the story line, which is what makes this film special, in that it doesn’t have to rely only on special effects to carry the movie like so many other comic book movies.  Having said that, the special effects are mind blowing, and worth a few extra bucks to see this movie in a 3D theater.  In fact, this movie is so dang good it has a decent chance to get a Best Picture Oscar nomination, a rare feat for this film genre.

Dialogue Nuggets:  Doctor Strange to Dr. Palmer – “There’s the problem.  You left a bullet in his head.”  Dr. Palmer – “I needed a second opinion.”  Doctor Strange – “You had a second opinion.  You needed a competent one.”

Doctor Strange to Dr. Palmer – “We are not friends, we were barely lovers.”

Therapist to Doctor Strange – “I’ll have to go to the archives, but if it proves your arrogant ass wrong it will be worth it!”

Doctor Strange – “Just how experimental is your procedure?”  Ancient One – “Quite.”

Doctor Strange – “We’re just a momentary insignificant speck in an indifferent universe.”

Doctor Strange – “What is this, my mantra?”  Mordo – “The Wi Fi password.  We’re not savages.”

Ancient One to Doctor Strange – “Your ignorance and fear prevent you from learning the most important lesson of all.”

Mordo – “You think there will be no consequences, no price to pay?  The bill…will…come due!”

Hot Wheels:  Dig that crazy sports car that Doctor Strange tools around in, a Lamborghini Huracan that sells for a cool $200,000.  The crew wrecked two of these beautiful machines to make the movie.

Image result for lamborghini Huracan

Cameo:  Keep a sharp look out for Stan Lee’s quickie cameo.

Post Credits:  Yes!  Don’t leave early, and stay to the very end, as there are two extra clips to see.