The Three Stooges

Bill I’s Review – 3 out of 5

A short review should suffice here: Were you a fan of the original 3 Stooges? If yes, you will enjoy this tribute, which replicates the original characters perfectly, as well as their stunts with sound effects and stupidity to perfection. And while you’re at it, check out this bit from the genius Billy West who did this for the Howard Stern show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW7r-wzwqGY

If you did not appreciate Moe, Larry and Curly and their hijinks, then clearly you should (first chill out) pass on this film. I loved it!

I should consider those of the younger generation, guys mainly: go and experience what the funniest movie actors ever have created, first by seeing this movie, then  by watching the reruns. If you’re in college, see it with your buddies.

Damsels In Distress

Bill C’s Review – 3 out of 5

Damsels In Distress is reminiscent of movies like Clueless, Heathers, and Mean Girls in that they all focus on female cliques in school  but that is where any similarities end. This is a quirky, silly comedy about a group of girls at a fictional northeastern college. Led by Violet (Greta Gerwig), the girls try to improve life on campus and rid it of depression. The comedy comes from the quirky and absurd dialogue and the fact that the girls seem to be leftovers from another era (maybe the 50s or 60s). Their solution to depression is dancing (Tap and the-hoped for new dance craze ‘ Sambola’) and good-smelling soap. But the girls run into issues with the men on campus and Violet needs to deal with her own issues. Like the movie, the performances are a little on the quirky side as well, but the leads, Greta, Carrie Maclemore, Megalyn Echikunwoke and Analeigh Tipton are all entertaining.

This film is written and directed by Whit Stillman, his first movie since 1998’s The Last Days of Disco, and he makes a decent return to directing. This movie could have been about 10 minutes shorter and seemed a little rough around the edges, but overall I enjoyed it and am ready to dance the Sambola!  If you like weird/quirky, consider seeing this. Otherwise, you should pass.

IMDB

Rotten Tomatoes

Still of Megalyn Echikunwoke, Greta Gerwig and Carrie MacLemore in Damsels in Distress

The Cabin In The Woods

Bill C’s Review – 2.5 out of 5

The Cabin in the Woods was the opening night film at this year’s SXSW film festival.  I didn’t see it then, but everyone I spoke to had great things to say and recently the film has gotten really good reviews. So, while I’m not a real horror fan, I thought I’d check this one out.  And I think that’s the problem–I’m not a real horror film fan. This is a horror film that’s also a loving deconstruction of the genre. You know…those movies where a bunch of teenagers go up to a cabin for the weekend and start getting picked off one by one. If you love the genre, you’ll love this movie. You’ll recognize all the stereotypical characters and you’ll get all the clever references. And you’ll enjoy how producer Joss Whedon (writer)  and Drew Goddard (writer/director) play with the genre. But for me, this movie was ok but nothing special.

IMDB

Rotten Tomatoes

The Kid with a Bike

Bill I’s Review – 4 out of 5

First what this film is not: it’s not for those who want a Hollywood movie, with big action, romance, special effects, quick editing, leading men, cute kids, alien flying a bike, predictable story, heart on its sleeve, set up for a sequel or prequel, Anglelina Jolie or Sandra Bullock hero mom, people who want an “uplifting movie”, who don’t like sub-titles, or who need clear-cut good guys vs. bad guys. It’s in French, and an American remake will probably be schmaltzy, but as it is it’s pretty darn good. The 11 year-old boy whose father abandons him is determined to find both his dad and his bike, only one of which does him any good. He picks a foster mom based on proximity, and internalizes the unfairness of his life. Were Charles Dickens alive today he would have written this screenplay. Thomas Doret is amazing as Cyril (aka Pitbull), and Cecile de France is perfect as the good hearted but direct foster mom. It’s not depressing, rather realistic and with not a false “acting” character in sight, truly inspiring in its message of love and finding family where you can. Take off one evening, miss that episode of CSI or Two and a Half Men, and check this out.

Bill C’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

This is a very good movie about kindness, resilience and hope. This movie avoids being overly sentimental about this kid who is headed toward juvenile delinquency after his father deserts him and sells his bike. That’s the right approach for this movie to take as you still get to care about the characters without it being, as Bill points out, schmaltzy. At points this movie is tough to watch as Cyril makes some bad decisions but it’s worth sticking with as Cyril deals with his anger and sense of abandonment. The kid gives an excellent performance and is an excellent bike rider 🙂 . While this film is in French and has subtitles, there is not a ton of dialogue so don’t skip it just because of that. The Kid with a Bike is definitely worth seeing.

P.S. Our recent entry on Jeff, Who Lives At Home talked about some of the best brothers that are directing/producing movies.  We missed the makers of this film,  Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.  They have been very successful movie makers from Belgium for over 30 years. This week was also the debut of The Three Stooges made by brothers we did discuss – The Farrelly Brothers – and of course Curly and Moe Howard were brothers. This movie got mixed reviews. Did anyone get to see it?

IMDB      Rotten Tomatoes

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Bill I’s Rating – 3.5 out of 5

Some reviewers called this a terrible title, but at least it’s accurate. What would be an alternative: “When Ascerbic Civil Servant met Hot Lawyer”? or “Faith and Hope beat Science”? or most likely “Swimming Upstream”. So yes, this is a story of a rich sheikh who’s so into fly fishing in his Scotland estate that he decides to create a dam in the Yemen desert, which would create a stream of water that he can dump 10,000 salmon in, hope they swim upstream and his countrymen can discover the joy of fishing. Since money brings power, he has an upscale London law firm (with the lovely Emily Blunt as his personal advisor) make it happen, including obtaining the services of aforementioned ascerbic civil servant scientist (perfect Ewan McGregor), and aided by ultra hyper-political HR flack for the Prime Minister (wonderful Kristin Scott Thomas, watch her try to manage/bully/mother her kids). Side stories are Ewan’s cold, controlling wife, and Emily’s soldier boyfriend sent to Afghanistan. The Shiekh is like a handsome Yoda, spouting wisdom through a sly grin, while truly experiencing the joys of casting his fly and patiently waiting for a bite. Don’t worry, the viewers actually never have to wait longer than about 20 seconds for these guys to catch a big one. I wonder how much film ended up on the digital cutting room floor waiting for the right fish to come along. These salmon personify the true meaning of an extra, I guess. The whole project is a rich man’s fantasy and obsession, that in retrospect reminds me of Donald Trump for some reason, with his apprentices kowtowing to his every wish. Overall, a very pleasant, enjoyable viewing experience. I recommend it, if you want an alternative to American Reunion this weekend!

Bill C’s Review – 3 out of 5

My wife was disappointed because she was expecting a documentary about salmon fishing. But I enjoyed this romantic comedy from director Lasse Hallstrom. Emily Blunt recruits Ewan McGregor, playing the pre-eminent fishing expert in Britain, to help realize a Yemen Sheik’s dream to bring salmon fishing to the Yemen. This endeavor requires faith and at first McGregor is against the idea. But he goes along after meeting the charismatic sheik and beginning to enjoy Blunt’s company. Over time his faith grows in the project.

The dialogue and humor are good and for the most part this is an enjoyable, easygoing comedy. As with any good movie about salmon (A River Runs Through It), the metaphors run hot and heavy about having to go against the stream. At times the movie gets a little too serious and Hallstrom could have been a little more subtle in spots.

The performance were ok. I especially liked Kristin Scott Thomas and Amir Waked in supporting roles. While not great, overall it was an enjoyable evening at the movies (and my wife liked it too after getting over the disappointment that I hadn’t taken her to a documentary).

IMDB – Salmon Fishing In The Yemen

Rotten Tomatoes – Salmon Fishing In The Yemen