Tag Archives: Chris Rock

[Review] – 2 Days in New York

30 Aug

Title: 2 Days in New York
Year: 2012
Director: Julie Delpy
Writers: Julie Delpy and Alexia Landeau, based on a story by themselves and Alexandre Nahon
Starring: Chris Rock, Julie Delpy, Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alexandre Nahon
MPAA Rating: R, language, sexual content, some drug use and brief nudity
Runtime: 96 min
IMDb Rating: 6.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Metacritic: 61

A few weeks ago I read an interview with Julie Delpy in which she said she had written a new movie, called Virgo Rising, and that her dream was to muster the nerve to go ask Woody Allen to take a role in it. Seeing 2 Days in New York it’s easy to see why he’s at the top of her wish-list; the sophisticated, intellectual, neurotic brand of comedy that’s on display in this film, which was co-written, directed and stars Ms. Delpy, was very clearly influenced by the legendary New York filmmaker.

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[Review] – Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

19 Jun

Title: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Year: 2012
Directors: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath and Conrad Vernon
Writers: Eric Darnell and Noah Baumbach, based on the characters by Mr. Darnell and Tom McGrath
Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter, Tom McGrath, Bryan Cranston, Jessica Chastain, Martin Short, Paz Vega, Frances McDormand
MPAA Rating: PG, some mild action and rude humor
Runtime: 93 min
IMDb Rating: 7.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Metacritic: 59

The Madagascar franchise hasn’t been groundbreaking or anything, but it’s actually hard to find much fault with any of it, plus it’s pretty damn successful so it’s not like it’s stopping any time soon. The first film came in 2005 and made over $530 million worldwide, then three years after that we got the second one, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and that made over $600 million all around the world. So yeah, they’re profitable; not to mention that, to me personally, the second one was actually also an improvement in quality over the first one, which was still quite decent.

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[Trailer] – 2 Days in New York

14 Jun

The first trailer for Julie Delpy‘s 2 Days in New York, the sequel to her 2 Days in Paris, is now out, and you can watch it after the cut.

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[Review] – What to Expect When You’re Expecting

31 May

Title: What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Year: 2012
Director: Kirk Jones
Writers: Shauna Cross and Heather Hach, based on the book by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Chace Crawford, Brooklyn Decker, Anna Kendrick, Joe Manganiello, Matthew Morrison, Dennis Quaid, Chris Rock, Cheryl Cole, Rodrigo Santoro, Rob Huebel, Thomas Lennon, Amir Talai, Ben Falcone
MPAA Rating: PG-13, crude and sexual content, thematic elements and language
Runtime: 110 min
IMDb Rating: 5.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 22%
Metacritic: 41

Everything about the latest ensemble rom-com, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, made it seems as though we were in for yet another crappy film in the vein of Valentine’s Day (which I gave a C- to) or New Year’s Eve (a D). Those films had tons of people I liked involved in them, and so does this one, with a huge line-up of stars that includes Elizabeth Banks, Chris Rock and Anna Kendrick, the three of whom I really like, but then the promotional material was just so damn trite, the posters were horrible and the trailers suggested that we were going to get material we have all seen time and time again. Oh, and yeah, it’s based on pregnancy guide.

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[Trailer] – Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

20 Mar

The Madagascar film series hasn’t been amazing or anything, but through two films (plus a television special and a TV show) it’s been a decent enough animated flick franchise full of cute and harmless amusing moments that can be enjoyed by everyone; not to mention that I actually thought the second one (Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa) was an improvement over the original. By which I mean, I’m actually not against having Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith return to voice their respective animals trying to get back to the Central Park Zoo for a third film, a new trailer for which you can watch above.

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Grown Ups

26 Jul

Title: Grown Ups
Year: 2010
Director: Dennis Dugan
Writer: Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, Joyce Van Patten, Steve Buscemi
MPAA Rating: PG-13, crude material including suggestive references, language and some male rear nudity
Runtime: 102 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 5.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 11%

Grown Ups is another Adam Sandler typical comedy, he’s here with his pals, directed by the guy who has directed him three times in the last four years, and as an Adam Sandler comedy this one’s, I guess, okay, I mean sure, the direction is completely monotone and the humor isn’t all that great, but you have Adam Sandler and four of his long-time friends and partners in crime, and audiences love his brand of humor, this one has already crossed the $150 million mark and it’s still running, add that to Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds, Anger Management, 50 First Dates, The Longest Yard, Click, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and Bedtime Stories and this is Mr. Sandler’s tenth film to cross the $100 million mark in just as many years, so yes, this guy is a huge box office draw, no matter how great his films ultimately are.

But if we are here to judge just that, how great the films are, and I guess we are, this one isn’t that great, this one just feels lazy, as though Sandler just decided to team up with his pals and get them all good paychecks to have fun and lost interest in everything else, the jokes aren’t great, they were probably much funner if you were there in the moment and with your friends like these actors were, and the camera angles are pretty shitty, too, which only adds to the notion that these guys just got together and made a $70 million home video and then released it to grosses of $150 million, but the fact that how much these guys like one another translates so well in this film does salvage it from serious crappiness, so at least there’s that.

I do like that Adam Sandler can still play the guy that can’t grow up at 43 years-old, it may be true that the two Sandler performances I find extraordinary came in Punch-Drunk Love and Reign Over Me, his two most dramatic roles, but each of those films made less than $25 million at the box office even if they were critically acclaimed, his other great role came in last year’s Funny People, which was another commercial disappointment, so what I’m trying to say is that this guy is loved when he’s like this, when he’s in his mindless-fun mode and he acts childish, and as that this one does succeed, I guess.

It’s about five guys who as kids were in the same basketball team, and then the coach of that team dies and the guys are now, as the title says, grown-ups, and these grown-ups return to the cabin where they celebrated their biggest victory years ago, and then you know how it will all go, it will be a string of not-classy-at-all physical comedy, sometimes at the expense of Maria Bello’s character who’s still nursing the son she has with Kevin James’ character, there’s also water park stuff and, of course, a basketball game with old rivals who want revenge, and Steve Buscemi obviously makes an appearance.

This is a film that means well, that has is obligatory emotional scenes when the characters make confessions about their lives to each other and remember their past together, most of the times when they do this it all sounds too forced, the good-heartedness of it all lost in a PG-13 comedy that has too many obscene and unsophisticated jokes and gags,and what’s really bad about it all is that these jokes really aren’t funny at all, and the reason why I think they weren’t funny was because the guys didn’t have time to shine, I mean, Mr. Sandler and Mr. James are two funny guys who could have done some great stuff had they been given the time, the girls who play the wives, too, you have former SNL MVP Maya Rudolph who does pretty much nothing and Maria Bello who is reduced to the aforementioned breastfeeding gags, but the fact is that this cast has five full-time members and another five that have considerable screen-time, and there’s just not enough time for them to shine individually, and unfortunately for us they don’t really get it done as a cast, blame that on whatever you want, the direction could be a good target, but the fact is that this wasn’t great, and another fact is that audiences don’t really care about this one being great, they just like to see these five guys being childish again, and they’ll pay good money for that.

Grade: C

Death at a Funeral

8 Jul

Title: Death at a Funeral
Year: 2010
Director: Neil LaBute
Writer: Dean Craig
Starring: Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, Tracy Morgan, Danny Glover, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, James Marsden, Zoe Saldana, Loretta Devine, Ron Glass, Peter Dinklage, Columbus Short
MPAA Rating: R, language, drug content and some sexual humor
Runtime: 92 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 4.7
Rotten Tomatoes: 38%

I went to Death at a Funeral expecting to leave severely disappointed, after all, the original British film from which this one is adapted is incredibly funny and I was sure that this one wouldn’t be able to convey the incredible British wit and humor that made the original a stand-out for me, but this one turned out to be an incredibly faithful adaptation, and has the same writer doing pretty much an identical script, and even a returning actor from the original in Peter Dinklage and, yes, in the end it does fail to live up to the original’s strengths, but it manages to be quite an amusing film with a pretty cool cast which includes Zoe Saldana, who I love.

And, really, just like with the original, it is because of the cast that this movie has any chance of working, granted, the original worked better, but this one has enough talent to make it work, too, and it does, in many ways. The original is much better because it showed much more restraint were as this one is much more over-the-top which mostly results in bad-taste outcomes (and not in the good sense which the original exploited), which are mostly just that, bad situations, but often times make for huge laughs, and that is, at the end of the day, why we go to a movie like this, because we want those big laughs. And in the end, this one does indeed achieve what the original did, which is to have us laughing about things that we shouldn’t be laughing about, and it does so by not trying to, but in fact by doing it all with complete seriousness and then having us surprised to laughing about things we know we shouldn’t be laughing at. I mean seriously, Peter Dinklage is the most serious guy ever, and yet he’s one of the best parts about this.

I actually don’t really want to go that much into the plot, because it’s not really that important, I mean, it’s a great one to keep the comedy going, and going at full speed at that, but just know that the patriarch of a family has died and the funeral is to take place at home, Chris Rock is his responsible son and we also get the Martin Lawrence character, a womanizer who has flown in for the funeral from New York. Then all kind of weird things ensue.

The one cast member I really thought made the character his own in comparison to the last film was James Marsden, who took a role Alan Tudyk rocked in the original and was funny in his own way in this one. Not to say that the other actors are just copying the ones from the original, they’re not, Chris Rock is reliably funny as he always is, and does have the good chemistry we would expect he’d have with Martin Lawrence, but the thing I meant is that, both Rock and Lawrence are at their best comedy-wise when they imprint their characters with their own brand of humor, and I think they stuck too much to the original characters this time around, I guess that’s one of the downfalls of making an adaptation as faithful as this one. Peter Dinklage, though, seeing as how he played the same role he played in the original is as funny as he was back then, which is to say plenty.

But this is still a good screwball comedy, because what these comedies need is high-octane energy and for something to always be happening and for actors to have great timing, and that’s all there in this one, but I obviously can’t help but compare it to the original, and in that comparison it doesn’t win, the only thing this one has the original didn’t is Zoe Saldana, who is not only beautiful, but is also quite good in this one.

Grade: B-