2009 Summer Movie Wrap-Up
Omar returns to break down the summer slate…
by Omar Mazariego
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
A decade after the first full-length X-Men film, the fans finally got what they were waiting for: Wolverine’s solo movie. And like the rest of the hood, I saw this on the bootleg that had wires on the actor’s backs and was missing CGI effects from entire scenes. Now, if you read the Origin comic books like I did, you’ll notice that the story was tweaked and even rewritten. While Hugh Jackman does Wolverine justice, the movie didn’t. From how he got the name, Logan, to why he really lost his memory, I wasn’t loving the changes at all. Gambit was the biggest disappointment to me. He was my favorite X-Man, but they turned him into a bird in this movie. Dead Pool was weak (I can’t believe they’re giving him his own movie), and what was the point of Will-Am-I-A-Gay-Basher?’s character? (We all know Will ain’t do nothing to Perez personally, but I still find that whole situation extraordinarily incredible.) Liev did his thing as Sabretooth, though; I ain’t taking that from him. Overall I was disappointed, but at the same time I’m glad I ain’t spend no paper to see this mediocrity.
Growing up, I was never into Star Trek. I saw a few episodes of “The Next Generation,” but never really got into it or understood why it had such a cult following. But director/producer JJ Abrams is crazy imaginative, so I decided to give this movie a try, and I was as blown away as Kool G Rap during his Karrine Steffans years. The retelling of how Captain James Kirk, Spock, Scotty and Sulu linked up to go where no man has gone before was fantastic. I always assumed they all met at The Blue Oyster from Police Academy fame, but I was wrong. Painting Kirk as a underachieving genius rebel-without-a-cause looking for direction in his life, while Spock was an overachiever way beyond his years (and his peers or elders) but was still conflicted by the simplicity of human and Vulcan emotions, gave the flick intriguing storylines to build around and gave the two main characters more depth than I thought they ever had. Sprinkle in some classic lines like “Damnit, Jim! I’m a doctor, not a scientist,” a hot half-naked green alien, some of the best special effects and action sequences the summer has ever seen, and you have yourself a banger.
Angels & Demons
I’ma keep it 100 with this right here: When I went to see this movie, I was with this cute-ass Salvadorian shorty. We was tongue twisting it and just Roman Polansking each other before, during and after the movie. So naturally, halfway through the joint I caught a case of…well, let’s just say you could’ve confused my family jewels with The Heart Of The Ocean from Titanic. It was THAT bad. No lie, I couldn’t enjoy the movie or really pay attention cause I was in major pain like Damon Wayans, feel me? Actually, I hope you don’t and never do. All I know is that Tom Hanks’ wig piece wasn’t as ridiculous as it was in The Da Vinci Code, that someone got branded with an iron, and that people read too much into organized religion. After the movie was over and we walked out, I was “crippin’” so bad that a few Bloods around the way were looking at me sideways when I came through. From what I remember about the movie itself, it was aight. (Same exact story goes for when we went to see Avenue Q. I mean, I think it was a funny play, but man, listen: All I heard was “My Heart Will Go On” and I know damn well Celine Dion wasn’t in that play.) Who knows how many Gangstas. But shorty herself was 4 hardcore Gangstas.
Let’s be real here. Everyone thought that the Terminator without Ahhnold would be like the Packers without Farve. But as fate would have it, Christian Bale turned out to be this franchise’s Aaron Rodgers. Aside from being a far superior actor to the Governator, Christian brought with him that human edge to a franchise built around a robotic apocalypse. In Salvation, the apocalypse has come and gone, but mankind is still beasting it and fighting the good fight for their right to party. John Connor (Bale) is seen by the rebellion as a prophet due to the knowledge he has on the enemy, thanks to his years of preparation through his old earth and personal experiences. But his commanders aren’t exactly praising him or his way of handling things and see him as the second coming of David Koresh. His hatred from the enemy is compromised when he meets a machine with the heart and mind of a man who is looking for answers himself. Now he has to make a decision: Does he side with the half man-half machine or does he sign with the New York Knicks? Countless free agents can’t be wrong, so he deads Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni’s suspect system to continue his fight against the machines. Also, Terry Crews’ “appearance” in this movie gave new meaning to the phrase “the black guy dies in the first 5 minutes.” Get a new agent, homie. Anyway, a bunch of heavy metal and a naked Ahhhnold lookalikes later, and I was convinced that no one can revive a franchise like Christian Bale can. He’s the LeBron James of Hollywood.
Drag Me To Hell
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m all about the horror movie; that’s my favorite genre, hands down. That said, we all know today’s “horror” movies are nothing more than remade or recycled material. But Drag Me To Hell seemed to have a new kind of spin for the current day and age. After an old gypsy loses her home to foreclosure (so real it’s already scary), the gypsy places a curse on her loan officer (Alison “No Lips” Lohman), which calls for her to suffer all kinds of mental and physical abuse for a certain amount of time, before the Laima finally drags her body and soul to hell. Lohman seeks help from an curly-haired fortune teller (the curlier the hair the stronger the psychic power — it’s proven science) and an old Latina (big surprise there) who’s done battle with this particular spirit before. She’s also dating the Mac guy (Justin Long), but he’s about as useful as a chastity belt is to Kim Kardashian. This movie was more entertaining and fun than it was scary, but the flick more than held its own. It was clever, creepy and overall disgustingly amusing. Kind of like my ex.
Away We Go
In my personal opinion, the only thing more overrated than this movie is Drake. Critics were hailing Away We Go as one of the best movies of the year and bigging it up like it was a change-the-game flick, but man this movie was a down-head. After an interracial couple (John Krasinski & Maya Rudolph) find out they’re going to have a baby, they start traveling to different states to meet up with old friends in order to get a feel for where the best place to raise their child would be. They soon come to realize that behind the “happiness” seeing friends brings their lives, there remains a canvas of misery. Through their friend’s pains and struggles they learn a thing or two about themselves and the direction they want to take in their life. Some of the dialogue was funny and characters interesting (I thought I couldn’t be less attracted to Maggie Gyllenhaal after Dark Knight. I was wrong), but the movie had too much of a message for my taste. It was just a sad movie. Damn near as sad as the fact that the last movie cast chock-full of Latino stars was Beverly Hills Chihuahua. And yet, they were only used for their voices. Just one long ass Taco Bell commercial.
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
Khalid described this movie as a “top 10 worst of all time.” I have to disagree. I mean Kha’s my muthaf*ckin’ man and I respect his opinion, but at the same time this is the same dude who said Kill Bill was trash. Given that the twin “ghetto” bots were offensive and as stereotypical as the “hoods” that Charles Bronson used to gun down in his Death Wish flicks, that was my only real beef with the movie. I thought the movie was funny, sexy (Megan Fox is wifey), and action packed. Naturally the storyline itself was iffy (Transformers built the pyramids? Since when?), but I’ve been saying that since they announced a sequel was in the works. You knew they were going to bring back Megatron somehow and he’d end up shooting the unfair one with Optimus. It was evident that this was going to be a movie based on more action, explosions and more Megan. And that’s exactly what it was. I don’t know what Kha was expecting, but I was hella entertained when I wasn’t offended by the “ebonics” that the twins were using.
The story of John Dillinger and his crew of murderous men seemed like an absolute can’t miss. Especially when it’s starring Johnny Depp (Dillinger) and Christian Bale (Melvin Purvis). But I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed. I can’t put any of the blame on the actors or even the director. But I will place it on the writers. One minute John’s a common criminal doing a bid and the next he’s an infamous bank robber. No build up to his status or anything. Same goes for Bale, who played Purvis. They were just introduced as “them dudes,” na’mean? It was like when the Knicks drafted Fredric Weis. It’s like, “Who the F*UCK is you?!?!” The bank heists and the thrill of the chase scenes were damn entertaining, but at the end of the day, for me it lacked character development. Why were these men the best at what they do? How did John know he had ample time to rob said bank. And what made Purvis that good at tracking down his man? He shot a pretty boy and became famous. I beat up and robbed more pretty boys than Mike Tyson (who wasn’t prettier than him?), where’s my movie? Public Enemies was a cool joint, just not what I had hoped from two of the best actors in the game. Then again it could be worse: it could’ve been Righteous Kill 2.
S. Cohen is a comic genius. I really didn’t think he’d be able to top Borat, but Bruno had me in tears like Stephon Marbury listening to Kirk Franklin. From the way he was freaking off his little lover in the hotel to the “interview” with Harrison Ford, the man had me eating out of his hand, but not in a Republican way. (“Not in a Republican way” is the new “No Homo.”) And the pics he took of Lil OJ? Aw man! I busted a gut cracking up when they showed them joints. While I was caught off guard by the full frontal nudity, it was still hilarious. Definitely one of the funniest flicks I’ve seen in years.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I don’t really keep up with anything British. Ever since my moms bought me a pair of British Knights in 4th grade and I suffered the kind of ridicule and abuse that Mel Gibson would’ve made a movie out of and blamed the Jews for, I swore off anything from “Great” Britain. So as far as the Harry books and flicks, it’s whatever to me. None of the movies or books really caught my attention. I saw this joint with L-Boogie at the Ziegfeld and it was cool for the most part, I guess. Harry catches a quick case of Jungle Fever; then son discovers a textbook that used to belong to the wizard formerly known as the Half-Blood Prince, which makes him a better but more dangerous magician; then he catches a body in the bathroom (not in a Republican way though, he’s not Bruno), and was ultimately betrayed by someone who he ain’t really like anyway. I don’t understand how everyone tries to kill each other with a magic wand and spells and sh*t. Tell Voldemort to send me a kite along with a magical shank — I’ll gets the job done. All in all, it was a cool movie, but in more of a cute Narnia way than in a g’d up Lord of the Rings way.
When I first heard that Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen were making a movie together, I thought I was in for something funnier than Paris Hilton when she was being driven back to jail. But the story of a famous comedian (Sandler) who makes a return to stand-up after learning that he was battling a life threatening illness was as boring as Stephon Marbury’s talk show “Stars on Stars.” It’s bad when the funniest guy in a movie starring Sandler and Rogen is none other than The Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig Allah (aka RZA; his “Seinfeld” comments in the flick were fantastic). In this movie, Sandler hires Rogen to help him write material for his stand-up comeback, and in doing so, the two end up becoming close and affect each others lives in ways that…man, I don’t know. The sh*t was kind of wack. It was 2 hours and change of mediocre jokes, soul searching and making amends. Reminded me of this ghetto ass intervention I took part in years ago. It went from nearly becoming a free-for-all to almost turning into an orgy, but that’s nether here no there. The title of this movie was as misleading as The Neverending Story, dunn.
Two words: interspecies prostitution. Six syllables: In-Fu*k-In-Cre-di-Ble! You have to love the idea of the UN helping malnourished illegal aliens (Prawns) from another planet, meanwhile they won’t even look out for illegal aliens from earth. It was like the UN discovered a UFO filled with two million Elian Gonzalez’s from another world, except in the end they were treated better than he was. In D9, aliens accidentally land on earth in the ‘80s and have been living amongst us since. Shot documentary-style for the most part (the latest Hollywood fad), District 9 revolves around this fake-ass Steve Carrell named Wikus, who’s placed in charge of giving the aliens their eviction notices and moving them from District 9 to District 10. During a raid of one of the alien shacks he discovers a device and ends up getting prematurely sprayed on. The effects begin immediately and his body begins to mutate into that of a Prawn from space. Now on the run, the Government and a neighborhood Suge Knight wants his blood for the same reason: operating alien weaponry. Wikus’s only hope of curing himself lies in the hands and technology of the very Prawn he was trying to evict (that was kind of predictable, wasn’t it?). I thought D9 was a good look at society’s class systems and discrimination of the very people they exploit. Sort of like whoever greenlit Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Not to mention the graphic scenes where aliens and people were torn apart. That was just off the hook. You can never have too much blood and guts being spilled in a movie.
I was watching the classic film From Dusk Till Dawn the other night (I can’t go to sleep unless I watch some kind of horror movie before knocking out), and I realized that Quentin Tarantino and I have a lot in common. I, too, would let Salma Hayek quench my thirst for freakiness by letting her stick her foot in my mouth and pouring liquor down her leg. Not to mention the kind of things we think of. From the conversation about Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” in Reservoir Dogs to the true meaning of a foot massage in Pulp Fiction to the comparison of how people view a rat to a squirrel in Basterds, me and son really are on the same wavelength when it comes observations that your everyday “politically correct” person wouldn’t make. So naturally I’m a fan of this man’s demented and graphic dialogue and visions of violence. Now his manic imagination takes a shot at rewriting history. Inglourious Basterds takes us into an alternate World War II, where eight proud Jewish men led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) are dropped into the middle of Nazi occupied France with one mission: kill as many Nazis as possible and get at Hitler and his top lieutenants. With no remorse, they bat down, brand, stab, suffocate, gun down and ultimately scalp Nazis (Mel Gibson must be pissed!). While it was as graphic as QT could get on screen, I was expecting more blood and guts than what I got. I mean I’ve “witnessed” a few dudes in my time get their heads cracked with bats and golf clubs, and it was a lot more sloppy and gruesome than what I saw in IB. Plus, I was surprised that QT didn’t take this opportunity to make fun of Hitler’s rumored homosexuality. But I did appreciate the crazy dialogue, accents, violence and even the chummy nicknames like “Bear Jew,” “Jew Hunter” and “Little Man.” But after concurring with my degenerate associates over a bottle of hardcore liquor that was made in Flaco’s bath tub, we concluded that there should’ve been a gay Jew played by Jon Lovitz (God knows he needs a paycheck) who would have sodomize the branded survivors and left them with a story to never tell, American Me style. “Don’t scream. You might like it.” If you ever hear someone tell you that, you can bet your sweet ass you’re gonna scream and you’re not gonna like it.