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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Date Night

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Goolphipp Award: 3.75 (See the Cheap Matinee)

Tina Fey and Steve Carell as husband and wife, throw in some Mark Wahlberg and James Franco and you can count me in. I went into this movie with pretty high expectations given the two leading roles. I wasn't disappointed, but I think I would have appreciated it more if I wasn't single. This movie is general enough for all people, but I'm sure it really hits home for long-time couples and married people.

This movie had quite a few random moments in there. At times the supporting cast stole the show. Which is understandable considering you've basically got a shirtless (actually insistently shirtless) Wahlberg. James Franco and Mila Kunis were great paired together. I loved the volatile chemistry between them.

The action scenes... believable I guess. You don't examine them that much considering this is a comedy movie. This movie covered all your comedic bases though - physical, mildly crude, and dry sarcastic.

Goolsby overall: 3.5
Good laughs.

I have not run into a person that hated this movie. Date Night is built on chemistry: Tina Fey and Steve Carell, James Franco and Mila Kunis, Fey and Wahlberg and Carell. And the banter was stellar - and believable. I shouldn't be surprised, since Tina Fey is the queen of banter. Because I am unmarried, I can't really comment on the portrayal of a married couple, but I have a feeling that it's pretty close to reality (sometimes, anyway). You go through all this crap, but at the end of the day, it's worth it - which really is the end message. And apparently getting chased by dirty cops all night revives a struggling marriage. I just loved Fey and Carell together. Overall, this movie is pretty clean. Full of "dad" jokes. And I think a bunch of jokes related to New York City culture, which of course, went right over my head. One inconsistency drove me batty - Tina Fey's ridiculous high heels. One minute they are off - because they were running through the park - and no one appears to be holding them...and the next minute she's running on concrete with them on. Come on, ladies, you know we would have ditched the shoes...and they would have stayed ditched. I'm guessing it won't be long before this is running on TV. It's pretty mainstream. It's a complete package. I'd watch it with my parents. I'd peg the audience for 14+. If your kids watch The Office, they can watch this.

Phipps overall: 4
For Tina Fey and Steve Carell.

She's Out of My League

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Goolphipp Award: 4.3 (Worth 11 Bucks)

I love this movie. Hands down, I love this movie. Everything about this movie was pretty much perfect for me. It gave me unexpected elements, very unexpected - I'm talking about the out-of-left-field shaving scene involving two men. But even this unexpected scene was done with some bit of class. There was no unnecessary nudity and there was enough humor to cover up any awkwardness.

I loved the story line. A 5 guy dates a 10 girl. I loved the message at the end of this movie, that numbers don't matter. I loved the supporting cast too. Leading man Jay Baruchel plays Kirk and the British Alice Eve plays Molly (by the way, she did a pretty good job covering up her accent). I'm a fan of the gangly Baruchel. He knows how to own his geeky awkwardness.

This movie is all in the details. You would think they might have problems with the cliches of the basic plot line, but they side stepped all of the gimme moments and packed the movie full of "Did that just happen?!" moments. There is a scene where Kirk's ex-girlfriend clotheslines him. He goes down like a bag of hammers, and I couldn't stop laughing. I have to give some props to Nate Torrence who plays Kirk's friend Devon. Torrence has some amazing comedic ability and I'm so glad he was part of this movie.

The only bad part? One of Kirk's other friends Stainer, played by T.J. Miller reminded me of Napoleon Dynamite too much. Perhaps it was just his looks, but his character just had that annoying jerk quality that I couldn't embrace. Maybe too much jerk and not enough redeeming loveableness.

Goolsby overall: 4.75
This movie will someday soon be part of my collection.

This movie did horribly at the box office, and that's too bad. It actually was worth seeing. Like I've said before, I'm really wary of comedies, because they tend to be overly raunchy. While this movie had those moments - all the other moments far outweighed them. I laughed through most of the movie...good mix of physical comedy and wit. Disney jokes were made. People fell. But most of all, the movie had some heart. The characters were pretty ordinary with ordinary hang-ups - crazy families, webbed feet, and ex's you can't get rid of. One thing I'm grateful for is airport accuracy in this movie! People can't run through the airport to chase down the love of their lives anymore (unless you know people in TSA). As I think over this movie, I realize how much fun I had watching it. I don't have too many complaints. As Goolsby said, there were unexpected moments, but all in all, I think it was as tastefully done as possible. I wouldn't watch it with my parents, but I sure had a good time. If I remember right, the soundtrack even contributed to some laughs. As far as audience, I would say 16-18+. It's not squeaky clean, but it's probably as close to a "made for people in their 20s" comedy as it gets.

Phipps overall: 4
Pretty darn funny.

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon

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Goolphipp Award: 4.3 (Worth 11 Bucks)

Phipps and I saw this separately. I saw this after her, and was excited because she told me it was really cute, and it's true, this movie is super cute - and surprisingly teaches a really good lesson I thought. I loved the characters. The whole movie I was trying to figure out the voice of Hiccup. I could not for the life of me place Jay Baruchel's voice. Baruchel is know for his roles in Knocked Up and the recent She's Out of My League. The animation was great. I saw this in 3D and was happy with the 3D moments, but not overly impressed. Being an animal lover, I guess my love extends to mythical animals too - I absolutely loved Toothless the Night Fury dragon. The friend I saw the movie with said she was surprised to see how much of the dragon's characteristics were similar to a dog. It's true, but it didn't bother me at all. I loved his personality. I liked how the Viking world was depicted and I think this story sends a good message to kids. The one shocker though, the ending. There was one detail about the ending I didn't see coming at all.

Goolsby overall: 4.25
Sign me up for dragon flight lessons!

I really liked this movie. Lots of jokes and action. The animation was good. I'll probably end up buying this movie someday. It is pretty violent, and some of the dragons are scary, so I'd say audience would be 6+. I saw this movie with a 10-year-old boy, who ended up really liking the movie also. Again, know your kid. I have two things more to discuss. First, I thought it was really interesting that the older generation of Vikings actually had accents, while Hiccup's generation didn't. It struck me as strange. Second, the ending. What the dirty. Totally unexpected. I can't help but wonder, was it necessary? Bottom line, How to Train Your Dragon is a good movie. See it.

Phipps overall: 4.5
You can't beat dragons.


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Gool Award: 4.75 (Worth 11 Bucks)

I saw this movie with another friend, but I have a feeling Phipps would like it too. I loved this movie. I knew what I was getting into, and I was not disappointed. Actually, I was expecting far worse, well, as far as language and inappropriateness goes. The violence was just about how much I thought there would be.

Kick-Ass is the story of normal people who decide to take a stand and become crime fighters - super heroes. These people have no special powers and can bleed and get hurt just like us.

This movie is not a kids movie. It is rated R for a reason. And I know that being a rated R movie only attracts more teenagers to it, and they will probably sneak in anyway. It's really not the younger generation that has a problem with this movie, I think the older generation (40 and up?) might agree with Roger Ebert in calling this movie "morally reprehensible." If you have heard about this movie in the news then you know all the controversy comes from an 11-year old girl kicking ass like a superhero does and cursing like a truck driver all along the way. She throws down the "C" word, and I think that's where all the hoopla comes from.

I saw a teaser trailer online that was a snippet of a fight scene with Hit-Girl, played by Chloe Moretz. I remember being a bit shocked by the cursing child star, but I was intrigued anyway. By the time the movie came out, I couldn't remember any of the details of the explicit trailer, but was prepared for much worse than delivered.

The real hoopla should be about the sound plot and excellent ensemble. This movie has superheroes that you are proud to root for, and bad guys that demand to be hated. All the action scenes were amazing! Fast paced and loaded. I'm sure if I knew more about weapons I would have been in heaven, but having no knowledge of weapons I was still impressed. From bazookas, knives, hand held guns, to a very well placed amazing weapon contraption (I'm not spoiling this so sorry for the vagueness). The fight sequences were on point.

The heroes: Aaron Johnson plays Kick-Ass and does it so well. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fogell from Superbad and Role Models) plays Red-Mist and pulls off a cape. Hit-Girl is played by the young and talented Chloe Moretz. Hit-Girl's father Big-Daddy is played by Nicolas Cage.

We saw this Friday opening day, and I was very very surprised to find that the theater was not packed. Tell everyone you know to go see this movie. It is amazing and hardcore and I love it.

The best parts - The car scene with Kick-Ass and Red-Mist. A fight scene involving a strobe light type of thing. I also loved all of the little jokes in between the major dramatic parts. Just when you can feel this movie getting way too heavy and more involved than you bargained for, a strategically placed joke rescues you.

This movie is not for the weak. If you don't mind cursing and major violence, go give it a shot. This movie is based on a comic and makes me wonder if it stayed true.

Goolsby Overall: 4.75
A bazooka, are you serious? Yup! Amazing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Clash of the Titans

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Goolphipp Award: 3.75 (See the Cheap Matinee)

So the original Clash of the Titans came out in 1981 - I wasn't even born yet. But, I do remember watching it later on VHS as a kid. Of course my older brother loved it, and I remember I did too. However, I haven't seen the original for a long time. I wanted to rent the original and watch it before we went to see the movie, but we just didn't have time. So I'm starting off with fond memories of the original and random details - like the metal owl!

First and foremost, the owl was the most important thing to me, haha. I'm a sucker for all things puppets, and the owl used to be basically a puppet or prop. I am glad to say the owl was paid homage in this movie. I literally threw my hands up and cheered a silent yes.

I liked this movie. I had fun watching it. Heck, its' a well known fact that I've got a thing for Liam Neeson. And boy oh boy was I happy, he looked a least 10 years, if not more, younger in this film. The makeup job was done very well. He played a very stoic commanding Zeus and I loved it. The whole cast did a really good job I thought. It was a good mix of people. Ralph Fiennes played Hades, and once again proved that he can be the ultimate villain (he also plays Voldemort in the Harry Potter films).

The action was intense and super fast. I had a hard time keeping up. Very quick. I loved the scorpion scenes. The CG was decent. There were only a few times where it felt the technology was being pushed to its limits. I guess we are having a theme of great wings this week, but once again, we were given amazing CG wings. The Pegasus had these beautiful black wings. Everything about that horse was spot on perfect. No complaints from me, gets an A+ in my books. Medusa on the other hand... her CG wasn't as seamless and left something to be desired.

I enjoyed the film, but it felt there was something missing. It needed some extra sense of umph, but I'm not sure where or how they could have given us that extra zing.

Goolsby overall: 3.75
Almost a 4.

I remember watching the original Clash of the Titans in elementary school. What I remember most is thinking, "that looks fake." But despite being slightly crippled by effects, because the technology just wasn't there at the time, the original had something special. It's been a while since I've seen it, but it had heart.
For this version, all the effects were in order, with the exception of Medusa. Stellar wings again. Everything looked right...and even with all the big names...there was no sparkle. While I normally love Sam Worthington, I just wasn't feeling it...from most of the performances. The exceptions: Ralph Fiennes (as Hades), Pete Postlewaite (as Spyros, Perseus' adoptive father), and Gemma Arterton (as Io).
I appreciated the obvious nod to the original with the robotic owl, and I'm sure there were more that I didn't catch.
This movie was a solid action adventure. There was clean action, comic relief, short skirts, and crazy creatures. It's entertaining. It's appropriate for the family with older kids.
That being said, the X-factor wasn't there. It has to be the performances, because there is no blaming the effects. Give me Harry Hamlin any day.

Phipps overall: 3.75
There was something missing.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


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Goolphipp Award: 1.3 (Total Tanker)

I knew angels would be involved from the previews. I always like to give apocalyptic movies a try. I like them, what can I say? I'm a sucker for good action, and I appreciate "smart" apocalyptic movies. Now poor Legion, it just couldn't make up its mind - couldn't decide if it wanted to be action or drama. Too much lag time in between the gotcha-pop-out-of-nowhere scary moments. Lag time in a movie like this, unless done correctly, just tanks the movie. I think Legion could have been a better movie, but perhaps what would make it good would be some overhaul on the general plot and action lines. This means it was a total draw back, when the answer to resolve a movie is to rework the outline, there's a problem.

The plot - End of the world scenario, woman's baby will save the world.

The good? There was some. The angels wings were very nicely done. They weren't flimsy and delicate, and I liked that. Paul Bettany's performance as the angel Michael was well delivered. And a very random Lucas Black plays a character named Jeep. This was the weirdest cast ensemble I've seen in a while. Tyrese, Dennis Quaid, Kate Walsh (Addison from Grey's Anatomy), and Charles S. Dutton (from Rudy).

I think a lot of people will have a problem with this movie. Following suit as a typical apocalyptic movie, it pulls heavily from the Bible. When I watch a movie like this, I don't view them as a representation of the Bible. I just see it as a story. So if the Bible was misquoted, it went over my head. Story had plenty of flaws beyond any misquotes anyway.

What really got my goat - the horrible ending! If you have seen Constantine, just think of that. You have invested time in this movie, and then boom, nothing at the end but some lame message that doesn't even make any sense.

Goolsby overall: 1.75
For the succinctly choreographed action scenes and the wings.

I hated this movie. Really.

The good points were very few. One, the CGI work on the wings was stellar. I liked the battle gear too. However, I think they spent all the budget on the wings...and didn't have any left over for people crawling on the ceilings. Paul Bettany was the best part of this movie...his performance is worth noting. The battle between Michael and Gabriel was the best sequence.

I'm a Christian, and quite frankly, this movie was insulting. I try to give some leeway with apocalyptic movies, because there are a lot of uncertainties in the theology. However, this movie did not just play with the acknowledged gray areas, they took liberties with the character of God. At that, my friends, I can't dismiss.

My points of contention:
  1. God loses faith in mankind. Legion cites Genesis 6, where God lost faith in man the first time, and so sends a flood. The actual word in Genesis 6 is "grieved." Grief and losing faith are different things.

  2. Legion theology says, angels bow before men. God told them to love mankind. Twinges of angelic jealousy - over the fact that God loves mankind and not angelic beings are seen throughout. The only scripture that this would be drawn off of is 1 Peter 1:12 which cites "angels longing to look" into the activities of the Holy Spirit working within man. I think it's a gross misinterpretation, but check out the chapter for yourself.

  3. God orders Michael to do something wrong. Then rewards Michael because God realizes that He was wrong...and Michael actually knew best. (Specifically, what God "needed.") Which is laughable. In fact, Legion's description of God reminds me of a child having a tantrum. That's not in line with the Bible at all. In fact, the book of James describes God as a Father that "does not change like shifting shadows." This is the point where I lose respect for the writers and the film makers in general.

  4. A man was tied to a makeshift cross upside down, then spews acid when he blows up in the sun, which ends up killing another character. Allusion to St. Peter being crucified upside down? Maybe.

  5. Michael blowing a cross-shaped hole through a building, and walking through it. Effectively setting Michael up as savior. Meh, there's one savior of the world, people. Quit inventing new ones.

  6. I've never heard of angels in God's employ - which excludes the demonic - possessing people. Ever. Check your Bible.

  7. Constantine features Michael as the bad guy, well, in this one, they chose Gabriel, because after all, there are only two angels mentioned by name in the Bible. If you are reinventing scripture, might as well name a few new angels.

I don't go off on theology often, but this one was asking for it. So much crap. Even a feeble attempt to reference 1 Corinthians 13:13 - with the "faith, hope, and love" bit. I am pretty disgusted.

So, in my opinion, don't see this movie.

Phipps overall: 1
Some talented people made those wings. Here's your recognition.

Hot Tub Time Machine

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Goolphipp Award: 3.25 (See the Cheap Matinee)

I think I was a little too excited for this movie. John Cusack and Clarke Duke (who plays Dale on "Greek"), and I was hands down ready to see this movie. For some reason, I have no idea why, I thought they were going to go back in time to more than one decade. I guess I was channeling Bill and Ted memories. They only go back to one point in time, 1986. Bright colors, Alf, cell phones as big as shoes, and some of the best music on earth! Who doesn't have a crush on John Cusack?

Anyway, back to the movie. I thought it was overall a good movie. They included more 80's references than I could even count of keep track of. They owned the cheesiness and I appreciate that. I thought the cast was a good dynamic. Duke definitely helped round out the cast, well done Duke, well done. Cusack still has it, and I was glad to see him in this role, it seemed very fitting.

So a bad thing? Some parts just seemed unnecessary. Projectile vomit? More than once? Really? I think there were at least 3 puke scenes in this movie. Not needed in my opinion. The nudity is understandable I guess, given the target crowd for this movie. Talk about drug use though! Wow, that was a lot.

I liked the movie as a whole. My 80's thirst was quenched with a quick throw back to the Karate Kid - "Get him a body bag! Yea!" I doubt I'll own this movie, but it was a gooder.

Goolsby overall: 3.75
How could I forget! There is a long awaited moment in this movie. You literally are waiting for a guy to lose his arm the whole time. Classic.

I laughed with this movie. I do like the premise. It was like a mash-up of a bunch of different movies from the 80s. Heck, even Red Dawn was paid homage.

I think they went to a lot of trouble to make sure everything was authentic, and it showed. I appreciated that. The movie was super colorful. (Haha.) I also really enjoyed that these older guys were inhabiting their younger bodies, which eliminated the need to sneak around avoiding themselves.

My main complaint, as always with mainstream comedies, is the unnecessary raunchy moments (and/or projectile vomit). I think this movie could have been a classic if they would have cleaned it up a bit. Less sex (and certainly no nudity), less language, and less drug-use. What's left? You still get to make fun of the 80s. You still get four losers going back in time and learning some stuff. I also felt like making an energy drink based on Chernobyl was a little sick. It goes over the target audiences' heads, because we were all a little too young to remember. Goolsby didn't have a clue about it, and I only knew about it because I have friends how work in environmental science. Overall, I felt that the plot had potential, but dropped the ball with all the crap. If you don't have a problem with these things, you will probably really like this movie. Like I said, there's a good framework.

One more thing, this movie has the perfect cast for the plot.

Question: do these guys have both sets of memories from the two time lines? (Movies about time travel seriously mess with my head.)

Phipps overall: 2.75
Bummer. Good idea tarnished by lame sex and language.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Last Song

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Phipp Award: 3.25 (See the Cheap Matinee)

I saw this movie with another friend, and just before the movie started, I said, "who do you think dies?" I mean, come on, with a title like The Last Song, what do you expect? And I wasn't disappointed. I don't think it was the best Nicholas Sparks movie, but I liked it. The acting was decent, and the storyline was probable. Bobby Coleman as the kid brother stole quite a few scenes. He made my chin wobble with his crying abilities. This also was a good transition movie for Greg Kinnear - into older dad roles - and Liam Hemsworth - into the US film industry. Miley Cyrus got the job done as well. I don't think she was stellar, but she wasn't awful. (Although, I do like her song contribution to the soundtrack.) I suppose what I'm getting at is this movie was a little better than average, but not much.

Phipps overall: 3.25
Huh. I liked the turtles.

The Secret of Kells

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Goolphipp Award: 2.8 (Wait for DVD)

Phipps and I were drawn to this movie because of Ireland. Clearly our trip overseas left an impression of us. I would say this is the second recent Ireland-based movie we have seen frankly, just cause we need an Ireland-fix. So, while we were in Dublin we went and saw the Book of Kells exhibit at Trinity College. The book is amazing. For a tiny tiny background of the Book of Kells, Wikipedia gladly supplies us with this description, " illuminated manuscript in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was transcribed by Celtic monks ca. 800."

We got to see select pages of the book on our visit. And let me tell you something, it was pretty amazing. The detail! So we were pretty stoked to see this children's cartoon story surrounding the Book of Kells.

The basic idea - a boy helps in the creation of the Book of Kells, and gets into quite a bit of adventure along the way.

This cartoon was actually semi-hard to follow. I think it would be best to go in to this thinking of it more as a fable or oral history, not a movie cartoon. I have to say us State-side people have been exposed to fewer types of cartoons or animated movies. We have a simple plot and goal laid out in the very beginning of the movie. This movie however, sort of wandered around. It was a solid story, filled with scary moments, amazing symmetry which mirrored the insanely detailed book itself. I say just sort of sit along for the ride in this movie, don't expect anything at all.

Oh... and a bit of a tidbit if you do go see this movie, wolves went extinct in Ireland around 1773.

Oh! There was a black man depicted in the film that bordered, no, straddled the racist line. Did he really need that big of lips?

Goolsby overall: 2.75
To quote Phipps during the first 3 days of our trip to Ireland, "I don't get it." Which is sad to say, and I wish I connected more with this film. Where's someone from Ireland when you need 'em?

I don't get it. This movie was spectacular visually, but plotwise, I pretty confused. I felt like I needed an Irish brain to get all the references. This is definitely a piece of Irish culture, because like most things in Ireland, nothing is outright clear (from street signs to movies apparently). The roots of this (I was told) is fear of invasion, which is actually depicted in this movie with faceless buffalo-like Vikings. It boils down to a story about fairies and magic...which helped write a transcription of the Christian gospels. Paradoxical, right?

This is not a kids movie. The meandering plot combined with very serious and scary animation scenes - I would suggest 10+ (or 12+ to be on the safe side) on this one.

This movie did get an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, which is well-deserved for the actual animation. The visuals were wonderful, and they all had their roots in the Book of Kells itself. The entire movie was full of filigree motifs and geometric pattern design. Frankly, it was amazing, especially because I have seen the real book in person. I got that part of it. The character Brother Aidan, was the spitting image of Willie Nelson as a cartoon...with an Irish voice. Absolutely hilarious. I felt like the people in general were funny looking - what was up with the notches on the ears?

Bottom line: Not for kids, tough to follow, but worth a watch for the visuals. Read up on the Book of Kells before viewing.

Phipps overall: 3
Interesting, but I was too lost to fully enjoy it. That 3 is for visuals alone.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Goolphipp Award system update

Hey readers,

So we have decided to update our rating system. We noticed we were never giving movies a 0 rating, so we made some adjustments.

As of April 2010 we will be using a new scale:
1 = Total Tanker
2 = Wait for DVD
3 = See the Cheap Matinee
4 = Worth 11 Bucks
5 = Opening Night Excellence

Our previous rating system was:
0 = Total Tanker
1 = Wait for DVD
2 = See the Cheap Matinee
3 = Worth 11 Bucks
4 = No Peanuts Chucked
5 = Opening Night Excellence

Keep reading and let us know if you want to see anything special.