Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card: November 11, 2011

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr goes to war. He strips down to his muscular awesomeness and shimmies into a codpiece. After applying a solid gold breastplate, he’s too exhausted to actually go to war, so he heads to the local movie cinema to catch Immortals, wondering if Isabel Lucas has ever eaten a carbohydrate in her life. Then he slips into a housedress and sneaks into an early screening of J. Edgar. After a quick nap, he tries to escape the horror that is Jack and Jill, but alas, that did not happen. You can send him care packages now, courtesy of his local mental institution.

Want to hear what Kevin has to say on the Fat Guys at the Movies podcast? Click here to listen as Ike from the It’s Mike and Ike Podcast joins him in the Magical Studio in the Sky to talk about this week’s movies.

Studio: Warner Bros.

Rated: R

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Armie Hammer, and Josh Lucas

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

What it’s about: Clint Eastwood directs this biopic about J. Edgar Hoover. The story follows Hoover from his humble beginnings as a federal employee through his rise to power and the creation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

What I liked: I respect the hell out of Clint Eastwood, and the guy shows some consistent talent as a director. He has a fantastic eye, and his movies always look fantastic. This is definitely true for J. Edgar, showing off some strong cinematography and composition. And, as with most of Eastwood’s other films, it’s well acted for the most part.

The elements about the development of the FBI were interesting and at times a bit chilling to watch, especially in today’s context of the Patriot Act and other political shenanigans. Plus, the mystery surrounding the Lindbergh kidnapping that Hoover investigated was a nice throwback to other Eastwood movies like Mystic River.

What I didn’t: As much as I do appreciate and respect Eastwood, his films as a whole tend to run too long and crawl at a slow pace. This happens with J. Edgar, especially near the end when the movie doesn’t quite know when to stop.

As much as most of the acting (from DiCaprio, Watts, and Hammer) is good, there are some rough patches. Judi Dench acts well but is entirely too old to be believable as Hoover’s mother (especially when he’s a mere child). Similarly, Jeffrey Donovan from TV’s Burn Notice hacks through his accent, which gave me flashbacks to his stint in Eastwood’s Changling a couple years ago.

Who is gonna like this movie: Die-hard Eastwood fans.

Grade: B-

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Rated: PG for crude material including suggestive references, language, comic violence and brief smoking

Starring: Adam Sandler, Adam Sandler, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, and Allen Covert

Directed by: Dennis Dugan

What it’s about: Adam Sandler plays a dual role – as a wealthy commercial director Jack and his own twin sister Jill. The family invites Jill to their home for the holidays, but soon she overstays her welcome. However, in an effort to land Al Pacino in a commercial, Jack dangles his sister’s repulsive sexuality in front of him like a carrot.

What I liked: The fact it ended.

What I didn’t: Everything else. This movie is a failure on all levels, bringing Sandler’s career to a new low. There’s nothing funny about Sandler in a dress, which plays out like the pathetic final sketch on a weak episode of Saturday Night Live, circa 1992.

The acting is awful. Even Pacino seems out of play, goofing on his own public persona and reeking of desperation while doing it. It doesn’t help that this film has an unnatural slate of cameos, which reminds me of Sandler in Funny People when it appeared he and Judd Apatow were trying to prove that they were buds with famous people.

But the worst crime in this movie is the blatant product placement, making it roll along like it’s nothing but a giant advertisement. Thanks to companies like Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Pepto Bimsol, this movie probably recovered its budget on their sponsorship alone. So even if no one sees Jack and Jill, it will be a financial hit. God help us all.

Who is gonna like this movie: Insane people who hate themselves.

Grade: F

Studio: Relativity Media

Rated: R for sequences of strong bloody violence, and a scene of sexuality

Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Freida Pinto, Kellan , and Luke Evans

Directed by: Tarsem Singh

What it’s about: In ancient Greece, the Gods want to interfere with a war among the humans. However, they are forbidden to do so unless the Titans imprisoned on Earth are released. A young hero named Theseus (Henry Cavill) tries to prevent King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) from finding an all-powerful bow, which can dominate the human race and also kill immortals.

What I liked: There are certain parts of this movie that look fantastic. The scope of the film is pretty awe-inspiring, and the digital background, while very obviously digital, are detailed and rich. Additionally, the cast itself (with the exception of Mickey Rourke and John Hurt) is populated with lots of young, hot, fit actors and actresses. Whether you’re looking for six-pack eye candy or pretty girls in robes, you’ll get it here.

And then there’s the action. It’s not spectacular or perfect, but there are some powerful fight sequences, in particular when the Gods get involved and lots of brains get splattered all over the sand. So if you’re looking for visual stimuli with gore, blood and sweat, you’ll get it in Immortals.

What I didn’t: On the flip side, if you’re looking for good characters, a well-written plot and an interesting flow of events, that’s not in this movie. Eye candy can only take a movie so far, and kick-ass, bloody action sequences get dull after a while.

Henry Cavill works as Theseus, but the story he carries is just plain boring. I never really cared what happened to any of the characters, or what their actual reason for existing was. These feeble attempts at character-driven moments are muddled and aimless, not even serving as effective connective tissue to hold action scenes together.

Don’t get me wrong, Immortals is not a crime against cinema the way Jack and Jill is. It’s just not good.

Who is gonna like this movie: People who want to see cool things but not care why those cool things are happening.

Grade: C+

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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