The Guardian

MOVIE:  The Guardian

NUTSHELL:  While rehabilitating after a gruesome accident, a veteran Coast Guard rescue swimmer trains a new class of cadets including a talented competitive swimmer.

GOOD THINGS:  Ashton Kutcher mostly wet and/or shirtless, solid story and performances, Sela Ward, Dulé Hill, bar fights, directorial restraint

BAD THINGS:  Weird musical interludes, bloody noses, death & gruesome accidents at sea with the Gorton’s fishermen, John “doughy guys uber alles” Heard

FEATURES:  Ice, Clancy Brown, Brian Geraghty, Melissa Sagemiller, wedding crashing, CGI uniforms, Neal McDonough

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  The weird constantly pontificating lady at the bar who also sings Cajun (?) music was way too much for me.

NOTABLE:  I guess these are the guys who try to rescue all the meatheads on Deadliest Catch.

BEST PART:  Testosterone-fueled witty repartée during basic training FOREVER!

BEST LINE:  Good Golly, you could have been killed.

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:33 am 1 comment

Head of State

MOVIE:  Head of State

NUTSHELL:  Hilarious tale in which an obscure councilman from Washington D.C. is asked to run for President by the Democratic Party and decides to do it his way.

GOOD THINGS:  Chris Rock writing, starring, and directing, Conan O’Brien, Nate Dogg as Greek Chorus, Dylan Baker, Tracy Morgan

BAD THINGS:  The Robin Givens storyline – bah!

FEATURES:  Player’s Ball, Teamsters, Super Whores, Ray Clark as the decoy, Mario Joyner, Gamma Singer, Stephanie March, Nick Searcy, Lynn Whitfield, Tamala Jones, James Rebhorn, Keith David

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Lynn Whitfield’s hair – I mean, wtf?

NOTABLE:  Everyone says I’m biased because Bernie Mac’s in this but really really really – it’s hilarious!

BEST PART:  The campaign commercials

BEST LINE:  It was off the hizzle for shizzle.

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:32 am Leave a comment

Little Miss Sunshine

MOVIE:  Little Miss Sunshine

NUTSHELL:  An extended family road trips from New Mexico to Redondo Beach for a preteen beauty pageant. Dancing to Rick James remixes ensues.

GOOD THINGS:  Everyone. Even Bryan Cranston and Mary Lynn Rajskub are in it. Even Greg Kinnear is great. Even my future ex-husband Paul Dano is in it. Even Wallace Langham from Larry Sanders and Steve Carell and Toni Collette and Alan Arkin and a little girl who isn’t annoying and Beth Grant as a beauty queen and and and and…

BAD THINGS:  Shallow gays at the quickie mart

FEATURES:  Horn honking, heroin use, colorblindness, Proust scholars (Yes more than one!)

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Do not look directly at preteen beauty pageants. View only reflection of preteen beauty pageants in foil taped on one end of a long box with a pinhole cut in the other end. Step away from the preteen beauty pageants. Do not think about preteen beauty page

NOTABLE:  I laughed for so long during this movie that I thought I’d be carted out by staff.

BEST PART:  The last 15 minutes.

BEST LINE:  Where’s Olive?

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

Phone Booth

MOVIE:  Phone Booth

NUTSHELL:  Taut thriller in which a duplicitious press agent is pinned down in a phone booth by a sniper until he fesses up to being a hound.

GOOD THINGS:  Josh Pais as Mario! Keifer Sutherland in horn rims! Nice writing, acting and direction and you know it pains me to say that since it’s from the guy responsible for Batman and Robin.

BAD THINGS:  Eyebrow issues, screechy hookers, blood, guido shirts, questionable logistics and continuity?

FEATURES:  Colin Farrell, screechy hookers, John Enos III, peepshows, Forest Whitaker, cellphonearama, Katie Holmes, snipers, pizza guys, Radha Mitchell, Swahili, Keith Nobbs, deceased toy robots, Richard T. Jones

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  I admit the hookers screeching drove me sort of crazy but the main thing is what is up with Katie Holmes pretending to be Joey Lauren Adams?

NOTABLE:  You know that’sa spicy good acting when it makes me give a frig about what happens to Colin Farrell.

BEST PART:  Woozy Keifer sighting

BEST LINE:  Oh no, you didn’t! You just fucked up my dick hand!

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:30 am Leave a comment

Nacho Libre

MOVIE:  Nacho Libre

NUTSHELL:  A friar in Mexico moonlights as a wrestler. Wacky japery and cooking with fresh ingredients ensues.

GOOD THINGS:  Jack Black, characters named Chancho and Sister Encarnacion, Efren Ramirez, Hector Jimenez, Peter Stormare, corn popsicles, Ana de la Reguera, natty duds and Oaxaca

BAD THINGS:  Scatalogical junk excess

FEATURES:  Troy Gentile, who will hopefully make a career out of playing a young Jack Black.

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  The early cooking scenes make my inner Martha Stewart clutch her pearls and those little wrassllin’ um… hairy things will haunt my dreams.

NOTABLE:  Either this makes you laugh or it doesn’t. A good gauge is how you feel about Napoleon Dynamite and you can also factor in how you feel about Jack Black.

BEST PART:  Esqueleto under attack and still holding corn

BEST LINE:  I used to really like Ramses. I wanted to become him! But it turns out, he’s a real douche.

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:30 am Leave a comment

Reds

MOVIE:  Reds

NUTSHELL:  Warren Beatty’s epic about American journalist John Reed, his love affair with feminist Louise Bryant and passion for Communism in the early part of the 20th century.

GOOD THINGS:  General technical and artistic beautifulness, Gene Hackman as a character I never understood, Edward Herrmann

BAD THINGS:  Well, you know, commies.

FEATURES:  Maureen Stapleton in a role that I cannot believe won an Oscar, Jerzy Kosinski as what the Amazon.com summary of Reds describes as Reed’s “problematic Russian liaison”, cutie pie (but whiny) dawg, Paul Sorvino, George Plimpton, William Daniels, George Jessel

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Scary, toothless Pinkerton guard that will haunt my dreams and toothbrushing forever

NOTABLE:  Since the people working at the Arclight concession stands cannot seem to get their asses into any gear faster than extreme slow motion, I think I missed some of the movie right after the intermission. All I know is I came back and they weren’t in Russia

BEST PART:  Jack Nicholson as Eugene O’Neill

BEST LINE:  Profits.

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:29 am Leave a comment

Stranger Than Fiction

MOVIE:  Stranger Than Fiction

NUTSHELL:  A lonely I.R.S. auditor hears an author who is narrating his life announce his imminent death.

GOOD THINGS:  Maggie Gyllenhaal, Will Ferrell, Tony Hale, a sweet fluffy script

BAD THINGS:  A feral Emma Thompson spitting into napkins? WTF?

FEATURES:  Queen Latifah, Monty Python, Tom Hulce, Kristin Chenoweth on Book Talk (?!)

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Dustin Hoffman always makes me nervous. I don’t know; HE JUST DOES!

NOTABLE:  You gotta love filmmakers who make a film where the message that art is not very important in the larger scheme of things is directly stated instead of being a sad byproduct of the film’s poor quality.

BEST PART:  Will Ferrell’s performance is I guess what I remember most about this movie.

BEST LINE:  King of the lanes?

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:28 am Leave a comment

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

MOVIE:  Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

NUTSHELL:  A French Formula Un driver takes an American NASCAR Legend down a peg. No hilarity ensues.

GOOD THINGS:  Sacha Baron Cohen, Andy Richter, Ted Manson from Dead Birds!, Michael Clarke Duncan and… Jack Blessing?!?!?! Honey, I love you!

BAD THINGS:  This was a disappointing one because I really did think it would be funny. But it turns out they wanted you to care about the moronic main character’s personal growth. If i’m being honest, personal growth is not that funny.

FEATURES:  Amy Adams, that creepy Gary Cole, Jane Lynch, Elvis Costello and Mos Def for no reason, bratty nails on chalkboard kids, John C. Reilly,

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Sinking feeling that there were wall to wall NASCAR jokes going on that I wasn’t getting at all.

NOTABLE:  Contains more product placement than even wild hyperbole can describe.

BEST PART:  Sacha Baron Cohen, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sacha Baron Cohen

BEST LINE:  My husband Gregory and I want what any couple wants. To retire to Stockholm and develop a currency for dogs and cats to use.

CROWNS:  2 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:28 am Leave a comment

Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny

MOVIE:  Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny

NUTSHELL:  The origins of the greatest band in the world, (plus Sasquatch and a magical guitar pick.)

GOOD THINGS:  Tenacious D, Amy Poehler, Dave Grohl, Troy Gentile as a mini J.B. again, Jason Reed as Lee

BAD THINGS:  Ill-advised A Clockwork Orange references, not enough songs, Venice Beach, Sasquatch and car chase sequences seem to have been cut down, no resolution of a couple story points at the end but that is so not the point of this movie.

FEATURES:  Meatloaf as maxi J.B., Ronnie James Dio, Fred Armisen, “In Search Of”, power slides, Wake and Bake pizza

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Some very unappealing wigs and very very obtrustive camos that derail entire sequences.

NOTABLE:  Contains a positively Beverly Hills Cop worthy car chase.

BEST PART:  Rock operaish opening is so awesome.

BEST LINE:  What do you want, non-rocker?!

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

View From The Top

MOVIE:  View From The Top

NUTSHELL:  Small town girl dreams of being a fabulous jet set flight attendant after watching a self-help book guru interviewed on tv. But then she falls in love in Cleveland. Will she choose career or the guy? Is it a cute guy? It’s Mark Ruffalo. Okay, forget I asked.

GOOD THINGS:  Well it’s got that Mark Ruffalo, Candice Bergen, and Gwyneth Paltrow but they’ve got questionable hair (okay, not Ruffalo). Also has Christina “Sidekick Hell Uber Alles” Applegate but she’s wasted and well… just weird. Conchetta “Lila Forever” Tomei and Troy “Bob Pepper Forever” Evans together again! (Not exactly but I can dream, right?)

BAD THINGS:  Possibly one of the worst scripts ever and a very large number of ‘dos that give high hair a bad name, odd stay-at-home-and-cook message and exceptionally flat characters doing ill-advised, unmotivated things. I guess that has to do with the really bad script, doesn’t it? Okay I could go on but let’s get to the cute little soaps.

FEATURES:  Cute little soaps, petty theft, trashy outfits, ill-advised musical numbers, t & a, houseboats, dorm rooms, ubiquitious eye jokes, suspiciously tan rich husbands, Chad Everett (oops, redundant redundant), George Kennedy, Mark Blucas, Stacey Dash, Stephen Tobolowsky, Mike Myers, old buddy Wayne Federman, Rob Lowe, Kelly Preston, Jessica Capshaw – whew that is a whole lot of WASTED people!

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Seriously, how many eye jokes can we stand? Seeing Gwyneth suckerpunched is rather less enjoyable than you’d think.

NOTABLE:  This is a new trend I think – bad movies that don’t get laughs until the blooper reel over the end credits and then everyone goes crazy with relief.

BEST PART:  BLOOPER REEL OVER THE END CREDITS! HAHAHAHAAHA!

BEST LINE:  Welcome aboard.

CROWNS:  1 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

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