Project 101

Dan attempts to watch 101 movies in 12 months

Archive for April, 2010

39 – Kick Ass

Posted by Dan on April 26, 2010

Okay, so normally the movies I’ve been writing about have been ones that are a little bit old, but I figure it’s time to do¬† a review on a new release. Don’t worry though, I’ll try and keep this one as spoiler-free as possible. Besides, I think I’m the only person amongst my friends who hadn’t seen it, so I figured I needed to get out and see it. And therein I think was my first mistake – listening to my friends.

Kick-Ass is the story of Dave, a teenager, who went one further than the rest of us who have every wondered why people haven’t really tried to do the whole ‘superhero’ thing, and actually did it. His first exploits are filmed and put up on YouTube and he becomes an overnight online sensation. He then quickly finds out that there really are some proper superheroes (a father and daughter duo known as Hit Girl and Big Daddy) in the city and that he’s quickly getting in over his head.

The movie is directed by Matthew Vaughn, who was the producer on Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch, as well as directing Layer Cake, and a lot of that mood and tone comes out in Kick-Ass, as well as a few recurring actors. The action scenes are very fast-paced, bordering on being occasionally too brief, and the one-liners are just as rapid-fire, with some of the best ones coming from Hit-Girls, played near-perfectly by Cloe Moretz. The movie’s been copping a bit of flack regarding the violence and swearing that comes from Hit-Girl’s mouth, but the actor clearly shows a maturity far beyond her years. She’s already got a fairly long resume at the moment, but she’s definitely a girl we’re going to see more of in the next few years. Her father, Big Daddy, is played by Nic Cage, who delivers a fairly average performance, but it’s probably good for Nic’s career to be attached to a title like this.

The rest of the cast seems to be somewhat of a low-rent Apatow ensemble cast, but for the majority of the movies, it actually works that we’re watching a screen full of, generally speaking, no-names. Throughout the whole movie, it’s hard to work out where abouts in the ‘comic-book adaptation’ it tries to be. It was originally a comic-book, but it’s constant comic-book style is a constant joy to watch, and even at it’s most bleak, it’s a movie that never takes it self that seriously. It’s full of comic-book cliches that would normally have you up out of your seat to leave the cinema, Kick-Ass’s constant tongue-in-cheek seems to give it a free pass to exploit every cliche in the book.

The end of the movie, there’s always the big twist ending, that seems to hint at a sequel. In a world that’s full of movie franchises though, I’m hoping that this movie remains just a one-off. From reports that I’ve read, they’re not currently planning a sequel, and the comic book of the same name (which, interestingly enough, had a film-deal signed before the first issue was released), seems to follow the same storyline, so who knows.

I’m still fairly undecided on whether or not I really liked this flick though, despite all it’s good points. I think, as I mentioned earlier, my big mistake was listening to friends – everyone I know seems to be talking about this movie like it’s the second coming of Christ. I can hardly blame many of them though – this is the sort of movie that is just built for the hype machine – there’s something in it for nearly everyone (except maybe your nan), so while it is a comic-book movie, it’s one that even those of us that aren’t massive geeks can thoroughly enjoy. It ticks every single comic-book adaption plot device in the book, and does so with a big evil grin on it’s face.

I’d say go and see this, but maybe wait until it comes out on DVD. It’s a good big-screen movie, but I don’t think that the big-screen is necessarily a must. There’s enough of the other stuff that goes on to carry this well on any screen. I’m going to give Kick Ass 3 out of 5 hidden identities.

Hit-Girl: okay, you cunts, let’s see what you can do now!

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38 – Funny People

Posted by Dan on April 10, 2010

I know this movie got panned in most reviews I saw – but I think the main problem is that it was advertised as a typical Apatow movie. I mean, just look at that poster. It even says that it’s The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up as associated movies. Yes, Judd Apatow wrote and directed Funny People, but do yourself a favour and just ignore that shit before starting this movie. Funny People is not supposed to be a funny movie.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are funny moments, but – okay, let me break it down for you: Adam Sandler plays, well, Adam Sandler. His character’s name is George Simmons, but essentially it’s like it’s Adam Sandler 20 years from now. One day George finds out that he’s got a terminal illness and only has a few months to live. So one night, down in the dumps, goes to some suburban open mic night, where he sees Ira, played by Seth Rogen. Ira is an okay comedian, but has dreams of giving up his shit day-job to do comedy full time. George gets up on stage before Ira and does a routine that’s more like a foretelling of death. Ira takes the piss out of him a little and thinks he gets away with making George look like an idiot until he runs into him in the carpark. They exchange bland pleasantries. The next day, George calls Ira and asks him to join him for a corporate gig a few weeks later. During the gig, George offers him a job as his assistant.

We then follow George on his trip of dealing with his terminal illness and his experiment with a trial drug, monitored by his doctor, and how his life revolves around it as he accepts his fate. Apatow apparently wanted to write a story about his life as an up and comer, but realised that all his mentors were quite nice to him – but what would’ve happened if his biggest influences were jerks? This is that movie. It’s almost a documentary in parts than it is fiction. There’s plenty of comedic actors playing themselves, and you’ll spend many scenes picking out your favourites – hell, there’s a scene where even Eminem tells George that he needs to relax.

Also, being an Aussie, it’s quite jarring to see Eric Bana playing an Australian. There’s a particular emotional scene which is quite weird due to all the St Kilda Football Club merch that surrounds the characters in the scene. Not to mention Eric Bana finally playing an Aussie role again!

Funny People is an occasionally funny, but generally quite emotional and rather sad movie, but in an unexpected way that makes it a joy to watch. You feel like you’re getting a true insight into their lives in an authentic, genuine way.

Funny People gets 4 out of 5 one-liners.

Ray Romano: [regarding George’s illness] How did he know he had it?
Ira: He said he was feeling dizzy and tired. So he went to the doctor, and it was in his blood work.
Ray Romano: That sucks, ’cause I get dizzy and tired. Anybody gets sick and I think I’m gonna get it. Is it contagious? It’s not contagious, is it?
Ira: No. No, I’ve been around him a lot. I feel fine.
Ray Romano: Okay, ’cause when you were talking, a little bit of your spit hit my lip. Not that you got it, but he spits on your lip, you spit on mine, and the next thing you know, I’m dead, and my wife’s fucking George Lopez.

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