Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Lil' Pimp (2005)

This is not an official review since I saw this movie about a year ago, and therefore I can't remember it accurately. However, I will still suggest that you go out and see Lil' Pimp, although some may find it crude and very offensive.

Lil' Pimp is the story of a young boy who doesn't fit in with any of the kids at school. His only friend is his talking gerbil Weathers (voiced by Ludacris!). One day on his way to the park, he mistakenly follows a hooker (voiced by Lil' Kim...is this movie great or what?) to a bar named "The Playground". There he meets a pimp named Fruit Juice and decides that he too wants to become a pimp. After a series of trials, he sheds his own personality to become Lil' Pimp, much to the dismay of his mother. Eventually Lil' Pimp goes on to save the town from an evil mayor (voiced by William Shatner. Yes, the William Shatner).

This movie is definitely not going to stand the test of time, but despite this I find it to be hillarious. Unfortunately, almost no one will watch it, because no one has ever heard of it. As a word of warning though, this is a fairly obscene movie. Everyone swears, there are a few graphic sex scenes, and there's this weird molesting midget that kind of freaked me out. However, for those willing to overlook the crudeness, this is as original a movie as you can get, and I recommend it. For me, seeing an animated six year old spout off pimp slang makes for an enriching experience.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Nacho Libre (2006) - Review

I actually went and saw Nacho Libre on its opening day. I don't see many movies the day that they open, but it was towards the end of finals, and my friends and I felt that we needed to see a stupid-funny movie to unwind. We were mostly right about this film; it was stupid, but it only had a few funny parts.

At the beginning of the film we were distraught to find that it was produced by Nickelodeon studios; I had been expecting a movie on par with Jack Black's School of Rock. How could it be funny when it was rated PG and produced by Nickelodeon? Our fears were not put to rest by opening few minutes either; the setup was somewhat boring and unfunny. By the end of the first twenty minutes or so, however, the plot had improved somewhat.

In Nacho Libre, Jack Black plays a monk who has lived his entire life at an orphanarium, and is forced by the other clergy to do undesirable tasks, such as cooking every meal. He has long dreamed of being a luchador (wrestler) but is unable to because the church views these men as false idols. One day after being attacked by a bum he decides to make something of himself. He finds the bum, named Esqueleto, works out a deal where they will train together, and creates the alter-ego Nacho. Even though they are horrible fighters, Nacho and Esqueleto continue to try their luck in the ring so that Nacho can bring home money to the orphans, as well as to Sister Encarnacion, an attractive nun he has taken a liking to.

I found the best part of the movie to actually be the soundtrack. The songs are catchy and fun, and I was quite interested in downloading the soundtrack when I got home. I was unfortunately unable to find it anywhere on the internet. If anyone knows where to find it, please leave a comment with a URL.

As for the rest of the film, it was entertaining, but it was not consistantly funny. There were some parts that made me laugh for minutes, but there were also long dry spells where all attempts at humor fell flat, despite the fact the entire row of 12 year old girls behind us laughed at every single line in the movie. The ending also left Nacho and Encarnacion's love situation unresolved, which I found to be annoying. I don't know whether it was a consious decision, whether it paves the way for Nacho Libre 2, but I find it hard to believe anything could occur between them. They did after all take vows of chastity. Adding this to the almost unbearable beginning, Nacho Libre is not a stellar comedy, but it is somewhat entertaining and may warrant a rental.

Film Filter Rating: 2 / 4

5 Classic Movies You Should See

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) - Stanley Kubrick's satire on nuclear war. An insane general takes over a military base and orders nuclear strikes on the Soviet Union. After discovering what has happened the President and his cabinet of generals are able to recall all bombers except for one, which continues on towards its target. Fearing the plane will finish its attack, America negotiates frantically with the Soviets, and these negotiations are pushed to a new level upon learing that the U.S.S.R. has a doomsday device prepared for retaliation. Although it does not sound like it from this description, this is an incredibly funny movie filled with black humor.

12 Angry Men (1957) - While you would think a movie that takes place entirely in two rooms would be boring, this film proves otherwise. Twelve jurors deliberate on a murder trial with a young defendant from the slums. The film begins with the jury deciding to find the teen guilty 11-1, with Henry Fonda as the lone juror voting not guilty. As the film unwinds, Fonda forces the other jurors to examine the case thoroughly, as well as examine their own prejudices and opinions.

The Graduate (1967) - This is one of my favorite movies of all time. It stars Dustin Hoffman in his breakout role as Benjamin Braddock, a young college graduate who is seduced into an affair with an older married woman, Mrs. Robinson. The situation becomes even more complicated when Benjamin falls in love with Mrs. Robinson's daughter Elaine, and tells her about his affair with her mother. After the fallout, Benjamin must travel thousands of miles to find Elaine and win her back. Along with the excellent acting, the soundtrack, made up of mostly Simon and Garfunkle songs, adds the perfect backdrop to the movie.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) - Although this movie was remade a few years ago, the original is hard to beat. This movie follows the lives of a group of Korean war veterans who returned to the United States. The group praises Raymond Shaw, a normally unlikeable soldier, for saving them. When all the soldiers have re-occuring nightmares, though, it becomes clear that the group has actually been brainwashed by communists in Korea, and it is up to Captain/Major Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) to save them. The plot twists will keep you on the edge of your seat, and the movie has a powerful political message on the dangers of McCarthyism.

On the Waterfront (1954) - A classic Marlon Brando film, Brando plays young hood Terry Malloy, a has been boxer and dock worker. Malloy must take a deep look at himself and his life after being involved in murders ordered by corrupt union bosses. By the end of the movie Malloy redeems himself and takes a stand against the unions that run the city docks. A powerful movie, and one of my favorites. It features the classic line "I coulda been a contenda".

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Man on Fire (2004) - Review

I was initially very anxious to see Man on Fire. The movie's trailers and commercials had made it seem to be a fast paced, exciting action movie with an almost artistic sense of filming direction. Upon viewing it, however, I was sorely disappointed.While both Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning had excellent chemistry on screen, and I suppose that it was important for the plot of the movie to create a sense of their mutual attachment, I found the beginning of the movie to be extremely slow paced, and almost boring. If it wasn't for the promise of coming action, I probably would have turned off the film.

Even when Fanning's character Pita is kidnapped (A plot twist which is obvious from the beginning of the movie), I feel the action still does not pick up sufficiently. Washington enacts his revenge on the kidnappers by killing them one by one, but there is only one firefight in the entire movie, which occurs at the initial kidnapping. All of his other encounters with villains are one sided, with Creasy (Washington) torturing them to extract information, and then killing them. While I found his method of killing corrupt cop Fuentes with anally packed C4 to be clever, I did not find the repetitive shooting/cutting off of limbs of the other villains to be particularly interesting.

I was also disappointed by the style of the movie, something I was greatly anticipating. Action scenes are presented in a disjointed manner, with many quick changing camera angles, fuzzy images, and sudden sound effects to create a sense of how disorienting the action is. While this was fun to watch at first, it occurred so frequently that it disoriented me, and actually made the film less fun to watch.

A final complaint I have with Man on Fire is the ending. At the end Creasy gives himself up to the kidnappers in exchange for Pita, and dies in their car. I feel that the ending is trying too hard for drama; this is an action movie, and the attempt to make a statement through Washington's death is out of place. I also found myself wondering why Creasy had to give himself up: I feel he was fully capable of getting away alive. Why did he have to keep his deal with the same people he was trying to kill only hours earlier?

Perhaps I'm being too hard on the film because I went into it with high expectations, which it did not live up to. It is not a horrible movie, and there are a few entertaining scenes. It was just a disappointment because I expected something so much better than a standard action/thriller, which is what Man on Fire is.

Film Filter Rating: 2.5 / 4


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