OBSERVE AND REPORT
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rated: R for for pervasive language, graphic nudity, drug use, sexual content and violence.
Starring: Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Michael Peña, Ray Liotta and Collette Wolfe
Directed by: Jody Hill
What it’s about: Seth Rogen plays a bipolar mall security guard who is infatuated with the girl at the perfume counter (Anna Faris). While trying to get in her pants, he’s also trying to solve a string of crimes that have been happening at the mall. When a real policeman (Ray Liotta) threatens his fragile world, things go a bit nuts.
What I liked: I will admit that I did laugh at some moments in this movie. This film has a very sharp edge that is not going to be right for everyone. In this respect, I did enjoy some of the more outrageous moments. Additionally, the non-stop onslaught of profanity and raunchiness was something that I could respect.
What I didn’t: I’ll get the references to Paul Blart: Mall Cop out of the way first, ‘cause that’s what everyone’s comparing it to. It bothers me that if this movie does well that studio execs all over Hollywood are now going to be looking for the next big mall cop movie. In fact, this terrifies me.
For this reason, I’m glad that Observe and Report is drastically different than Paul Blart: Mall Cop, even though there are some strikingly similar story elements. But still, I just couldn’t get into this movie. It was so dark that it infected the very characters. I didn’t like anyone, not even in an anti-hero sort of way. In fact, the only character that was worth anything was Nell (Collette Wolfe), the coffee shop employee, but even then, she was such a cardboard throwaway character.
I appreciate a dark, edgy movie, but this one seemed to just randomly try to offend people and make no sense in the process.
Who is gonna like this movie: Bipolar mall cops… and Neil Miller.
HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE
Starring: Miley Cyrus, Emily Osment, Jason Earles, Mitchel Musso and Billy Ray Cyrus
Directed by: Peter Chelsom
What it’s about: Pop teen sensation-in-hiding Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) has let her on-stage alter-ego Hannah Montana get too big for her britches. So, her dad whisks her away to her family’s farm in Tennessee where she has to get grounded in reality and learn to be the small-town country girl once again.
What I liked: Say what you want, but I do find a certain charm in the Hannah Montana television show. I have kids who watch it, after all, so I’ve seen plenty of episodes myself. It’s cute, but I will be the first to point out that it’s not for the internet fanboys or arthouse crowd.
This movie is actually a fairly faithful big-screen adaptation. And like last summer’s Sex and the City, it manages to be more than just an extended 90-minute episode from the show. But bear in mind, this movie is made for the fans of the show and pretty much no one else.
What I didn’t: Getting past all the complaints that non-tweens have about this franchise (e.g., it’s cheesy, it’s corny, it’s predictable, etc.), the film itself does have some moments that drag. They probably could have edited another ten minutes from the running time. Plus, with all the pop songs crammed in there to warrant a soundtrack album, it loses focus at times.
And, as someone who watches the show, I was disappointed to see Miley’s on-screen brother Jackson take a back seat. He has a real knack for slapstick comedy, and it was sad to only see him in a few scenes.
Who is gonna like this movie: Tween girls… and Neil Miller.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Rated: PG for for intense sequences of action/violence and brief mild language.
Starring: Justin Chatwin, James Marsters, Emmy Rossum, Jamie Chung and Yun-Fat Chow
Directed by: James Wong
What it’s about: A high school kid (Justin Chatwin) who has been trained in martial arts must track down seven “Dragonballs” (and no, I’m not making the obvious joke) that, when brought together, grants a perfect wish. He’s trying to keep them out of the hands of Piccolo, a villain who wants to resurrect an ancient evil to take over the Earth.
What I liked: The martial arts were cool. So were the special effects, if not a little cheesy. Plus, there was a decent amount of eye candy for a PG flick, with Emmy Rossum and Jamie Chung. And, it was nice to see Yun-Fat Chow get some work.
What I didn’t: The plot, the story, the characters, the logic. All of this was an absolute mess. In many ways, Dragonball: Evolution reminded me of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li… so much of the backstory was left to assumption that anyone who hasn’t read or watched the original source material was left out. The movie is a popcorn film but ultimately hard to follow and confusing.
Who is gonna like this movie: Fans of the original Dragonball franchise.
ANVIL!: THE STORY OF ANVIL
Rated: Not Rated.
Starring: Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner
Directed by: Sacha Gervasi
What it’s about: In the 1980s, Anvil was poised to be one of the greatest rock bands in the world. However, while contemporaries like The Scorpions, Whitesnake and Bon Jovi went on to superstardom, Anvil faded into obscurity. Today, the band is still together, trying to make it big, despite low-attendance at shows, bad (if any) recording deals and disastrous tours.
What I liked: This film is the rock version of American Movie. It’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It’s heartbreaking because it’s difficult to watch these guys fail at so many turns. It’s heartwarming because they have such unbridled passion for their art that you can’t help but respect them.
This is a fascinating documentary about the human spirit that refuses to give up. It starts out looking like a run-of-the-mill rockumentary, but soon it evolves into a brilliant look at two men in their later years still trying to make their dream come alive.
Also, even though these guys have a hard edge to their music, their calm and friendly demeanor just makes you root for them throughout the show.
What I didn’t: Not a whole lot. It’s one of the better documentaries I’ve seen in a while.
Who is gonna like this movie: Fans of metal rock and anyone who likes a good documentary.