Sunday, May 12, 2013

Movie review: The Other Guys

The Other Guys (2010)
Netflix streaming
Rating: 2.5/5

I wasn't all that impressed with this movie. I had heard that it was pretty funny, and it's from the same director (Adam McKay) of movies such as Anchorman and Talladega Nights, so I was expecting it to be pretty humorous. But there were only a few scenes that I found myself briefly laughing. It was pretty disappointing. Most of what McKay does is usually hilarious. Mostly because he has found a formula for his comedies that he has been able to make work. Of course, the downside of that is that most of his movies have started to all feel the same. That might be due in large part to the fact that Will Ferrell usually plays the lead role...and that role is usually practically the same character. The first few movies that Ferrell played such a character, it was hilarious. But the more that he plays that role, the more it starts to just feel annoying and like it's the same thing I've seen time and time again. In The Other Guys, Will Ferrell's character did start out as somewhat more of the straight man...but there was enough of a presence of his "zany" character to begin with that it never really felt right. Then, as the movie went on and he got zanier and zanier, it just felt like "ugh...not this again." I did think, however, that Mark Wahlberg did a great job. He is a much funnier actor than what some people might give him credit for.

As you could probably guess from my review so far, my recommendation is: pass. It wasn't entirely unpleasant to watch, but I wouldn't have been missing out on anything if I had never seen it. If you are wanting to see a McKay/Ferrell movie, I say just stick to either Anchorman or Talladega Nights.  Even if you've already seen them, I think you'd have a better time re-watching them than you would watching The Other Guys. If you are wanting a movie where Ferrell isn't playing that same type of character, I'd say go with Stranger Than Fiction. And if you are wanting Wahlberg in a comedic role, go for I Heart Huckabees.

This is a re-post of a brief review I did on my other blog, before starting Gargyle Reviews.  I have made a few grammatical changes, but the content of the review has not changed.  There are two other reviews (Thor and Inception) from my other blog that I will eventually be posting here.  I enjoyed both of those movies, and I do recommend watching them.  Before re-posting the reviews, however, I am going to watch the extras on the DVD/Blu-Rays and include that into my reviews.  Will my recommendation stay with just a "rent," or will either of them be upgraded to a "buy"??  Be sure to check back here to find out.

Be sure to follow me here and check back soon for more reviews and recommendations.  In the meantime, comment on this (or any other) review, and follow me on twitter @GargyleReviews


Saturday, May 4, 2013

May the 4th be with you...

image from
Happy Star Wars Day everyone!!

Like most like-minded geeks, I will undoubtedly be watching at least one Star Wars movie tonight.  We can all go ahead and rule out Episode I: The Phantom Menace though...I don't think anyone is going to be watching that today.  As is usually the case with most geek-themed "holidays," most of the people who already know about Star Wars Day are people who already have some way to celebrate it - whether it's as minor as posting a Star Wars themed status on Facebook, or as detailed as dressing in full costume and attending conventions or acting out your favorite scenes.  Conversely, the people who couldn't care less about Star Wars are not going to be swayed into watching it by some random movie review.  In other words, if you are the type of person who is going to watch Star Wars, you do not need my recommendation.  And if you are not going to watch Star Wars, my recommendation is not going to change your mind.

So rather than providing a review tonight on any of the movies (I do plan to post reviews of each movie eventually), I am going to share some Star Wars themed videos that I enjoy.  These videos are in no particular order, and are only a small sampling of the videos available.  While none of these videos are actually from the movies, most of them do heavily reference the films.  So, despite the fact that these movies have been around for 30 years, and it is my assumption that the only people who are going to watch these videos are people who have already watched Star Wars countless times, I'm going to go ahead and give a general spoiler warning.  If you have not yet seen any of the Star Wars movies, these videos might contain spoilers.  If you haven't seen Star Wars before, and plan on watching them (all of them), I recommend watching, in this order, episodes IV, V, I, II, III, VI.  Also, some of the following clips do contain adult language.  So, if you are offended by swearing, or if you are watching these clips with your children, I will note which clips contain adult language ("al" will be next to the titles of those with adult language, in case you watch the videos before reading the text beneath them).  Ok...with spoiler and adult language warnings out of the way...on to the videos.  May the 4th be with you.

  • Robot Chicken:  Death Star Orientation

The Adult Swim stop-motion animation Robot Chicken has been parodying/mocking Star Wars since their first season.  As their Star Wars clips increased over the years, the eventually had enough clips for an entire episode dedicated to Star Wars.  In fact, at this point, I believe they have created three dedicated episodes.  While I recommend watching all of the Robot Chicken Star Wars specials, there are simply too many clips to choose from to post, and I would not be able to post the entire episodes.  So, I have chosen a more family friendly clip.  Not all of the clips are as family friendly though (some contain adult language, suggestive dialogue, and occasional nudity...all involving stop-motion animation).

  • Eddie Izzard:  Death Star Canteen (al)

Keeping with the stop-motion genre, this video is a fan-made animation using Lego Star Wars set to the audio of Eddie Izzard's bit about the Death Star canteen.  The animation is pretty choppy, and clearly not to the same caliber as Robot Chicken, but I am a tremendous fan of Eddie Izzard and his comedy is what really drives the video anyways.  This video does contain adult language.

  • Clerks:  Death Star contractors

If there is one thing that Star Wars fans love...well, it's watching Star Wars, obviously.  But, at a very close second, fans talk about Star Wars.  I am sure that every fan out there has had at least one conversation revolving around which of the movies was the best (again, a unanimous "NOT the Phantom Menace!").  I know that I have had that conversation more times than I like to admit.  But the beauty of this scene is that it captures the essence of most fan conversations of Star Wars...the ideas and consequences of the actions of the characters, not addressed by the movies.  If you have not had a conversation similar to this before (or have not referenced this conversation as evidence for your own point), I am sure that you will before too long.  While Clerks is certainly not family friendly, this clip is - there is surprisingly no swearing in this clip.

  • Saturday Night Live: Bill Murray's lounge singer sings Star Wars

This is a classic clip, so I am disappointed that I was not able to find an actual clip from the show.  Not only will this song be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, but you will probably not be able to hear the theme from Star Wars again without singing these words to yourself.  And that is not a bad thing.    

  • William Shatner sings "My Way" to George Lucas

Say what you will about whether or not it is a good thing that George Lucas has done so many things his way (re-releases, prequels, CGI, constant changes, inconsistencies, and so on...), but you cannot deny that doing things his way has made him money on the Scrooge McDuck level.  You also cannot deny that William Shatner is awesome.  Though, by the look on George Lucas's face during parts of the video, he is not as amused.  Let the Star Trek vs. Star Wars comments commence...

  • Star Wars - The Clone Wars: Darth Sidious battles Darth Maul and Savage Opress

In case you have not heard, Star Wars: The Clone Wars has been one of the casualties of Disney's acquisition of the Star Wars franchise.  While I am looking forward to the possible new directions of the franchise, I was saddened to hear about the loss of The Clone Wars.  Some of the story lines in the series have been less enjoyable than others.  But, overall, I thought that it was an enjoyable show.  In fact, I have enjoyed the show much more than I enjoyed the prequels.  I especially liked that some of the recent stories had been getting increasingly dark - mirroring Anakin's path towards the dark side.  The clip that I have chosen is from one of the more recent episodes.  So, if you have been watching the series, but have not yet seen this episode, you might want to skip this clip for now.

  • Belated Media: "What if Star Wars: Episode I was good?" (al)

Seriously, what if Episode I had been good?  Star Wars was the movie that started many on the path to geekdom.  We are all grateful for that, and Star Wars will always hold a special place in our hearts.  But for many, Episode I was the last straw.  They could deal with the re-releases.  They could deal with the bad CGI.  But they just couldn't deal with Episode I.  The Phantom Menace not only failed to capture young fans in the same way that the original films did, but it also caused some fans to turn away and never look back.  And the worst part is, Episode I could have been really good!  This video is a critique of Episode I, but more importantly it is a hypothetical story-line of how Episode I could have been good.  Really good.  This is the movie that should have been made.  Oh, and by the way, there is adult language in this video.

  • Parks and Recreation: Patton Oswalt's Star Wars filibuster

Speaking of hypothetical Star Wars plots, this recent clip of Patton Oswalt's proposed plot of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII is brilliant.  Pure hilarious genius.  According to the video, Patton's rant was unscripted.  Having heard some of his other comedy bits about Star Wars and other various areas of geek culture, I totally believe that.  Plus, you can clearly see a couple background characters having a hard time keeping their composure.  Even though it is completely ridiculous, I would gladly see the movie he proposes.  Without giving too much away about the clip, there is a spoiler warning for The Avengers.  So, if you have not yet seen The Avengers, and somehow managed to completely avoid all discussion of the movie, and plan to see it before too long...then you might want to skip over this for now.  Patton's stand-up routine about the Star Wars prequels is not family-friendly, but this clip is.

  • Emerald City ComicCon: voice actors reading script of Star Wars (al)

Voice actors Billy West, Tara Strong, Maurice LaMarche, John DiMaggio, Kevin Conroy, Jess Harnell, and Rob Paulsen read the script of Star Wars..with some slight modifications.  They not only read in the voices of some of their famous characters (e.g. Bender, Brain, Yakko, Fry, Professor Farnsworth, and so, so, so many more), but also as impersonations of some well-known actors (Christoper Walken, William Shatner, Johnny Carson, Bill Cosby...just to name a few).  They do not read the entirety of the script...but this is the entire video.  It is over an hour long, but certainly well worth it!  Even though many of the voices are of beloved cartoon characters, there is some adult language.  So, while it might completely shatter a child's perception of some of their favorite characters (actually, just seeing real people do the voices of the cartoons might be enough to shatter their perceptions of their favorite characters), adults who grew up on the characters will probably find it as hilarious as I did.

So, there you have it.  A small collection of some of my favorite Star Wars themed videos on the web.  In case there is any question, I should note that I did not create any of these videos, and all of them were found via YouTube.  If there are any Star Wars themed videos that you enjoy that you feel should be added to the list, please attach them (or a link to them) in the comments below.  Let me know why you enjoy them.  And let others get the same enjoyment you have.

Until next time, may the 4th be with you.  Happy Star Wars Day everyone!!