Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card: May 13, 2011

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets set for another weekend of weddings with Kristen Wiig and her posse. Sadly, he discovers that he doesn’t have a vagina and decides to move on. Next, he takes a trip to an alternate world where priests kick ass and kill vampires.

Once he realizes he is woefully out of place next to sultry Maggie Q in a ninja priest outfit, he comes home to find his possessions kicked to the curb with Will Ferrell in the middle of the whole mess.

Want to hear what Kevin has to say on the Fat Guys at the Movies podcast? Take a listen below as Kevin is joined in the Magical Studio in the Sky by Mel Valentin from eFilmCritic.com and SFStation.com.

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Studio: Screen Gems

Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, disturbing images and brief strong language

Starring: Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q and Lily Collins

Directed by: Scott Stewart

What it’s about: Bear with me on this one… based on the Korean graphic novel, Priest is set in an alternate reality where vampires (which look more like creatures from Doom) have been at war with humans for centuries. After the church teaches priests the art of vampire killing, the remaining vampires are locked away in reservations. However, a sudden appearance of the vampire threat causes a rogue priest to search for his missing niece.

What I liked: Let’s just say that I liked the idea of Priest more than I liked much else about the film. It has visions, I’ll give it that. And the opening explanation sequence (which, honest-to-God does include the lines “taught priest the art of vampire killing”) was cool, but that had more to do with nifty animation by Geddy Tartakovsky than anything else.

What I didn’t: The biggest sin this Priest commits is taking itself too seriously. There’s an overabundance of smoldering looks from Paul Bettany, and I got a real sense that director Scott Stewart thought he was really making something significant. Why else would he spread homages to 1984 and other dystopian stories?

Aside from the all-too-serious nature of the film, Priest tries to do way too much. It tries to be an action-horror-apocalyptic science fiction western, and the film just buckles under its own weight. Set in the wastelands of an apocalypse, much of the $60 million budget appears to have gone to making the film look dirty and wasted. It sure as hell didn’t go to the vampire effects, which might have looked cool in 2005, but not now.

The script is a convoluted mess, with dialogue so horrible that I wondered if it were penned by the same folks that wrote Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” It doesn’t help that some of the worst lines are delivered by the likes of Cam Giggidy-Giggity-Goo, who is a damn fine looking man but not much else.

Sigh… sadly, a child molester would makes a better priest than Scott Stewart did.

Who is gonna like this movie: Scott Stewart and his mother.
Grade: D-


Studio: Universal

Rated: R for some strong sexuality, and language throughout

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper

Directed by: Paul Feig

What it’s about: Annie (Kristen Wiig) is a thritysomething woman who is hitting rock bottom. Her love life is crap. Her car is crap. Her job is crap. And her roommates are crap. When her BFF gets engaged and asks her to be the maid of honor, it’s a bittersweet time. Annie must deal with the other women in the bridal party, including the new and pushy BFF, as well as the rest of her pathetic life further crumbling around her.

What I liked: Like last year’s The Social Network, I fully recognize that Bridesmaids is getting hella good reviews. So take what I have to say with a grain of salt. The film definitely connects with an audience, and it delivers a female version of a raunchy comedy with enough grace that I’ve literally heard women say that it’s not that dirty of a film. (Hint: It actually is.)

There are some laugh-out-loud moments, which tend to be at the raunchiest points in the film. Yes, girls poop too, and we get to see some of that happen to a pretty funny effect. Of course, the supporting cast tends to be stronger than the leads at time, with Melissa McCarthy from TV’s Mike & Molly stealing the show.

What I didn’t: All the great reviews aside, I was not into this film. There were two main reasons for this. First, I didn’t like the characters. Deep down, they were either asshole jerks or whiny little children. We are supposed to feel sympathy for the character of Annie, but I just couldn’t muster it… not when she’s acting like a child through much of the film. I expect that sort of thing from a movie like Superbad because the lead characters are teenage boys, and no one ever accused that demographic of being completely mature and responsible. But a woman in her 30s acting the way Annie does in the film just isn’t appealing to me.

Secondly, I do like Kristen Wiig. She’s adorable. She’s funny. She has some real comedy talent. However, her shtick of hemming and hawing, then mumbling through pseudo-improvised dialogue only works in small doses. As the weird love interest in Paul or MacGruber, she’s quite funny. And that delivery can really pop even in a tiny role like the one she had in Knocked Up. But two hours of it just got on my nerves.

Who is gonna like this movie: People with vaginas.

Grade: C-


Studio: Roadside Attractions

Rated: R for language and some sexual content

Starring: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Michael Peña, Laura Dern and Stephen Root

Directed by: Dan Rush

What it’s about: Will Ferrell plays a salesman who loses his job and comes home to find out his wife has dumped all of his belongings on the front lawn and left. Not wanting to leave his stuff to be stolen, he begins to live on his front lawn. However, soon the police threaten to arrest him for vagrancy, so he turns his current living space into a lawn sale where he finds a way to pick his life up and start again.

What I liked: While I may not have been a big fan of this film, I respect Will Ferrell for taking another stab at a drama rather than screwball comedy. He was so surprisingly good in Stranger Than Fiction and even the comedy-drama Melinda & Melinda that it’s refreshing to see him go outside of his Ricky Bobby box.

The performances are good, even if they’re delivered by indie film darlings that I don’t care for (like Rebecca Hall). Ferrell holds his own to carry the movie, which features him in almost every scene. The movie has a strong independent feel to it and can be enjoyed by someone looking for that more depressing yet uplifting look at life.

What I didn’t: Where Everything Must Go falls apart for me is with the character reaching rock bottom. If rock bottom is just having to pick up the pieces of your marriage and going broke, someone needs to talk to drug addicts prostituting themselves and taking a couple shots in the mouth so they can afford a shot in the arm. The depression arc that we see is relatively tame, and in the end the film never quite has the bite that it should.

Also, I’ve always had a problem with movies that deal with alcoholism and addiction which resolve themselves in such a short time. It just doesn’t play as realistic for me to watch someone going from having a case of beer for breakfast to turning his life around in a couple days.

I was just left a bit cold with Everything Must Go. I guess I’m just not into mopey characters hitting rock bottom, which seems to be the big choice at the multiplex this week.

Who is gonna like this movie: People looking for a somewhat funny yet safe indie drama.

Grade: C

It’s Friday the 13th, so instead of talking about these movies on TV, Kevin picked his top five slasher films. Check out his weekly movie segment 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).

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