Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card: August 20, 2010

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dives into Spring Break at Lake Victoria, or at least that’s how it felt in 3D. He examined how similar Piranha 3D is to Eat Pray Love because piranhas eat their prey and all the bare boobies can inspire such self love. Then Kevin is chided by an ugly Emma Thompson for misbehaving, and suddenly she becomes a hottie. Finally, Kevin tries to determine whether vampires suck or if it’s just Vampires Suck that sucks.

Want to hear what Kevin has to say on the Fat Guys at the Movies podcast? Take a listen below as Kevin and FSR Executive Editor Neil Miller meet up in the Magical Studio in the Sky to take a look at this week’s slate of new releases.

Download this Episode

Studio: Universal Piranha 3D

Rated: R for sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use

Starring: Jerry O’Connell, Ving Rhames, Elisabeth Shue, Eli Roth and Richard Dreyfuss

Directed by: Alexandre Aja

What it’s about: In this remake of the 1978 Jaws rip-off, an earthquake releases a school of ancient piranhas into Lake Victoria during spring break. While the sheriff tries to keep order and attempts to close down the lake from the buffet of big-breasted (and often bare-breasted) college students, her son is off gallivanting with a crew from a Girls Gone Wild type shoot. Let the feeding begin!

What I liked: I have enjoyed the films of Alexandre Aja ever since I saw High Tension several years ago. He takes a stab at another 70s remake and nails it. If you know anything about this director, he’s not one for a PG-13 rating, and he delivers this fantastically with Piranha 3D. It takes some time to really show its teeth, but when the piranha start gobbling spring breakers, we end up with possibly the bloodiest movie you’re going to see this year, and some of the most creative kills as well.

As a vocal proponent of 3D, I enjoyed watching this movie in that third dimension. It’s a post-conversion process, so there’s some artifacting that happens at several points. However, this is probably the best post-conversion I’ve seen. The shots have depth and, aside from some obvious gimmicky ones (which I was still okay with), the movie looks pretty decent.

Oh, and boob. Lots and lots of boobs. In 3D.

What I didn’t: Like I said, there were some noticeable gaffs in the 3D conversion. Aja worked to put some real depth in his shots, but that proved to be challenging from a 3D conversion angle. It would have been better to have been shot for 3D.

Also, the plot’s nothing special, but who really cares about that with a bloody, gory horror film? Still, I would have liked to have seen something more than your very basic whiny boy risking his life for a girl that keeps him in the “friend zone.”

Who is gonna like this movie: Gorehounds.

Grade: B+

Studio: Universal

Rated: PG for rude humor, some language and mild thematic elements

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emma Thompson, Maggie Smith and Rhys Ifans

Directed by: Susanna White

What it’s about: Emma Thompson returns as the magical nanny in this sequel to the 2005 children’s film. This time, she’s helping a family in England during World War II as their father is off fighting the good fight. The family is ready to lose its farm, and it’s up to Nanny McPhee and the kids to do their part to save it.

What I liked: This is a pleasant enough family film, and my kids really did enjoy it. After all, what’s not to love about a movie with a belching bird and synchronized swimming pigs when you’re seven and nine? They seemed to like it, and the film has a very similar tone and feel to the first movie.

There’s also some positive lessons that kids can learn from Nanny McPhee. I’m not one for preaching in a film, and it really doesn’t do that. On the whole, it’s a feel-good family film if you’re looking for that sort of thing.

What I didn’t: While this movie had a similar tone as the first one, it’s really not as good. There are scenes that spread things on a little thick. For example, while the first film introduced the title character with a whispering voice saying, “The person you need is Nanny McPhee.” In this movie, she’s introduced by a chorus of voices banging drawers with the same tune. It’s overkill, which is the theme of this film at times.

There’s also a morose emotional diversion in the middle of the film which is a bit too heavy for family audiences (and one that leads to possibly too much false hope for similar real-life situations). It also takes way too long away from the main story to the point of annoyance.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Nanny McPhee, and this one is a small step down.

Who is gonna like this movie: Kids and maybe some of their families.

Grade: C-


Studio: 20th Century FoxVampires Suck

Rated: PG-13 for crude sexual content, comic violence, language and teen partying

Starring: Ken Jeong, Matt Lanter, Charlie Weber, Marcelle Baer and Chris Riggi

Directed by: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer

What it’s about: You know those guys who single-handedly ruined the spoof genre? Yeah, them. Well, they’re back, poking fun at the Twilight franchise.

What I liked: Let’s just say that Vampires Suck is the best movie so far by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Of course, that’s not saying much when you have a bar that has been set by the likes of Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans. Still, there are some funny jokes and gags in this movie, and this disastrous duo has finally moved into the realm of “mildly funny.” Too bad it took them five films to get there.

The thing that works, sort of, for this movie is the fact that the spoof pretty much stays on target. Sure, there are random nods to Alice in Wonderland and Lady Gaga, but overall, the story is a send-up of The Twilight Saga. The reduction of inane pop culture randomness helps hold this mess together.

The cast actually works for the most part. Diedrich Beider is pretty funny in the Billy Burke role, but it’s Jenn Proske as the Bella character that steals the show. She nails the excruciatingly bad acting of Kristen Stewart. Likewise, the writing does its fair share to deconstruct the key problems with the entire Twilight franchise.

What I didn’t: For as much as Vampires Suck was a step up from Friedberg and Seltzer’s previous efforts, it’s still not that great. There are too many pop culture references that don’t serve as jokes in the film. Gags are telegraphed and sometimes explained. After all, do we really need someone to say, “A chihuahua?” right after Jacob turns into a chihuahua? Why is that necessary?

If you hate Friedberg and Seltzer, this movie isn’t going to change your mind. You’ll hate this, but just not as much as previous efforts.

On the other hand, if you just loooooove these spoof movies from “The Guys Who” guys… well, then you’re a lost cause to begin with.

Who is gonna like this movie: People who like any sort of spoof or Twi-hards who love their franchise so much that a movie making fun of their movies is enough to get them into the theater.

Grade: C+

Want to see what Kevin had to say about these movies on the television? Check him out on Fox:

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

Read More from Kevin Carr
Get Film School Rejects in your email. All the cool kids are doing it:
Previous Article
Next Article
Reject Nation
Leave a comment
Comment Policy: No hate speech allowed. If you must argue, please debate intelligently. Comments containing selected keywords or outbound links will be put into moderation to help prevent spam. Film School Rejects reserves the right to delete comments and ban anyone who doesn't follow the rules. We also reserve the right to modify any curse words in your comments and make you look like an idiot. Thank You!