Monthly Archives: May 2012

Bull Durham (Erin: 2.5 Stars, Bret: 2.5 Stars)

Okay, so we forgot the blog post for Bull Durham. That isn’t to say that it’s an utterly forgettable movie. As far as you know.

In all honesty, it’s a movie that Bret remembers more fondly than it turned out to be.

The baseball scenes are fun (mostly because Kevin Costner is one of very few actors that actually looks like he has picked up a baseball bat in his life); the dialogue between the teammates makes you laugh from time-to-time (“I held it like an egg” “Yeah, and he scrambled the son-of-a-b*tch”); and we suppose it gives you a pretty good sense of what minor league baseball is all about (the goofy sponsor nights, the bus rides, etc.), but in the end, it’s just not that entertaining a movie and the less said about how well it holds up, the better.

We Googled “Tim Robbins, Bull Durham, Pitching,” but it just laughed at us.

HOWEVER, if you like blistering jazz saxophone solos, watching an aging-before-your-eyes Susan Sarandon pretend to be sexy or seeing Tim Robbins achieve the world’s worst pitching form, completely disregard everything we’ve said above. You will love this movie.

Two-and-a-half stars from both Erin and Bret for Bull Durham.

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The Burbs (Erin: 4 Stars, Bret: 3.75 Stars)

What a momentous review for the RockMovieProject! Not only do we debut another room of the house — the common area — but we also finish up the B’s!

Seems fitting that The Burbs should follow Bruce Almighty in the RockMovieProject as both films try to achieve the same goal — to entertain the audience and make them laugh — but go about it in such different ways.

As covered in our previous review, Bruce Almighty is what is generally known as a “high-concept” comedy. The pitch to the studio probably went something like this: “Jim Carrey is a down-on-his-luck guy who is given God’s powers as a means to teach him how good he has it.”

One sentence tells you everything you need to know about the movie. It’s relatable in the most minor sense — that most of us have felt a tinge of “grass-is-greener” syndrome in our lives — but, to the best of our knowledge, God doesn’t seem to delegate very often.

That Big Momma’s House got two sequels tells you everything you need to know about Hollywood.

That is where we are with Hollywood at this point. If it’s not a remake, a reboot or an adaptation of a TV series, book or comic, chances are good it’s a high-concept comedy.

The Burbs is the antithesis of all of that. It’s not Citizen Kane, but it’s a refreshingly original film that is entirely relatable.

It’s basically a story about a bunch of men with too much time on their hands acting like children; who among us can’t relate to that?

There’s no body-swapping, God doesn’t give any of them his powers, and there is no real moral to the story, it’s just a bunch of guys acting like idiots and it’s fantastic.

It doesn’t rely on silly gimmicks to entertain because it’s just the slightest exaggeration of how the real world works and that, more than anything else, makes it funny and enjoyable.

We’ll get down from our soap box before we fall, but please know that this was one our favorite movies of the Project so far.

Well-written and perfectly cast — without any real notable actors outside of Hanks and Fisher —  The Burbs is a refreshing, dark comedy that we highly recommend. It actually feels a lot like a happier, more realistic Tim Burton movie, in all honesty.

Let he who has not found a human femur in his backyard cast the first stone.

Hilarious bits throughout, including a ton of tongue-in-cheek horror movie cliches, but probably our favorite parts are the throwaway lines and moments (Ray eating the sardine on the pretzel, the commando neighbor snacking on animal crackers on his roof, etc.).

Bret highly regrets giving it just 3.75 Stars while Erin delivers a shocking 4-Star review for a film she had never seen before.

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Bruce Almighty (Erin: 2.5 Stars, Bret: 2.5 Stars)

There are very few actors as divisive here at the RockMovieProject than one James Carrey — which is to say that Bret thinks he is capable of moments of brilliance and Erin wishes he was trapped for eternity in the Well of Souls from Raiders of the Lost Ark, rendering him incapable of appearing in any future films.

Not helping Bret’s argument here, Jim.

Bret’s contention is that Jim Carrey at 75 percent “Jim Carreyness” is a fun actor to watch. The problem? Jim Carrey is only barely ever at 75 percent in his movies, he’s usually at 150 percent or so, which is what drives people crazy.

He’s not an actor as much as he is an over-actor. He doesn’t chew the scenery as much as he gorges on it.

There is a moment in every Jim Carrey performance where you can actually watch him cross the line from “okay, that’s laugh-out-loud funny” to “ugh… how long is this movie again?” It happens in the blink of an eye in most cases and it’s a shame.

What is Jim Carrey capable of when he tones it down a notch or 10? How about The Truman Show which scored 90 percent among Top Critics on Rotten Tomatoes? He probably should have been nominated for an Oscar for his performance in that film (which we’ll get to on the RockMovieProject sometime in 2014).

Look at some of the reviews of his turn as Truman:

Oh, you meant “face-pulling slapstick comedy” literally.

“Carrey is a surprisingly good choice to play Truman. We catch glimpses of his manic comic persona, just to make us comfortable with his presence in the character, but this is a well-planned performance”

“As Truman, Carrey projects a warmth and goodness we haven’t seen in any of his face-pulling slapstick comedies. He’s funny and engaging, but he also brings a touching believability to this far-fetched tale of a man whose trust and innocence were violated from the day he was born.”

“That truly makes Mr. Carrey the ideal actor for the role, since his beaming affability so often conveys an edge of secret fury. Warm, affecting and refreshingly shtickless, he occupies center stage here through sheer, beguiling force of personality. And Mr. Carrey is charismatic enough to make Trumania a nearly plausible conceit. He intensifies ordinary emotions so powerfully that perhaps this guy’s Warholian 15 minutes, on a television show of halfway satirical blandness, could have lasted 30 years.”

We only understood a part of that last one, but each review hits on the same note: “wow, Jim Carrey was pretty good when he stopped mugging so damn hard.”

For our Beverly Hills Cop review we pleaded with Eddie Murphy to start making movies that were in his wheelhouse again, the R-rated comedies and action comedies that made him the star he once was. Here we’ll do the same for Jim Carrey and wish that he would stop making goofy, high-concept comedies (like, for instance, one where he bitches so much about his life that God gives him all of his powers) and start making more grown-up, quirky movies like the The Truman Show. Otherwise Erin is going to really ramp up her efforts to lure him to Tannis.

As for Bruce Almighty, it is exactly what you would expect from a Jim Carrey movie. Moments here and there that make you laugh out loud, but otherwise, an over-the-top performance where Carrey uses goofy voices and catch-phrases that make you cringe until the credits start rolling.

Two-and-a-half Stars from both Erin and Bret.

….. okay, Erin was right.

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Braveheart (Erin: 5 Stars, Bret: 5 Stars, J. Alex: 5 Stars, Jesse: 5 Stars)

Fun fact: Four perfect scores from the RockMovieProject is the rough equivalent of one Oscar for Best Sound Editing.

In the year of our Lord, two-thousand and twelve, Bret and Erin Rock were joined by J. Alex Kelly and Jesse Terry to review Braveheart for the RockMovieProject. They reviewed like warrior poets; they looked like idiots and they all gave it 5 Stars.

We could bore you here by telling you that the casting is spot-on, that the story — while a bastardization of historical events — is pitch-perfect or that Mel Gibson’s direction is nearly completely devoid of anti-Semetic rhetoric.

We could regale you with our opinions about how tremendous the film’s score is; about how the film is now 17 years old and doesn’t feel even a little dated; or by explaining that there probably is no drama that is more often quoted at Rock Manor.

We could do all of those things if we hadn’t already done so in the video above. So instead, we’ll conclude by kindly asking that you watch our review and let us know in the comments how you feel about Braveheart. We love it.

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Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Erin: 0.5 Stars, Bret: 1 Star)

Whoa… you totally forgot one terrific actor, man.”

Imagine taking classic source material (“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” — an iconic story and one of Bret’s all-time favorite books) and putting it in the hands of a legendary director (Francis Ford Coppola). Toss in some terrific actors (Gary Oldman in the titular role, Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing) and you should have cinematic gold, right? Right?

No…. no. No.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula received the lowest combined score of any film we’ve reviewed so far.

According to no less a source than IMDB.com, the film was originally meant to be an original take on the Dracula mythology, but because the title Dracula was held by another film company, they decided to just name it Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

The move killed two birds with one stone; allowing the film to have Dracula in the title AND to trample on the grave of Bram Stoker, which apparently was very important to Coppola.

Because Bret’s head is going to explode if he has to think too hard about this film, we encourage you to watch our review above for all of our thoughts about this travesty.

They didn’t even get the vampire right, he isn’t sparkling at all!

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The Bourne Ultimatum (Erin: 4 Stars, Bret: 4 Stars)

The Bourne Ultimatum is a fun review of ours if only because we both come across as drunk, although we highly doubt that was actually the case.

The film itself is a good ending to the trilogy (at least until the Jeremy Renner version hits theaters later this Summer). Ultimatum has better action sequences, a tighter plot, prettier locations and a more fitting title than Supremacy, but wasn’t quite as good as Identity, at least according to Bret.

Admit it, it’s closer than you thought.

The review, however, tackles the really important questions, like “better looking, Albert Finney or Julia Stiles?” or “is it safe for Bret to yawn while Erin is talking?”

Also, stick around for Erin’s all-out attack on Russia. If Putin sees this, we may be at the dawn of a new Cold War.

The Bourne Ultimatum receives 4 Stars from Erin and 4 Stars from Bret as well.

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RockMovieProject Mailbag

We don’t get a lot of comments (yet) at the RockMovieProject, but we love to hear from our viewer(s).

Disagree with us? Let us know. Think The Bourne Supremacy was a great title/movie? Throw a comment our way. Thrilled that Kathy Bates got naked in About Schmidt? Ummm… we’d prefer you keep that to yourself.

Hold on, I have to wipe the vomit off my screen.

We are always excited for a discussion (Erin)/argument (Bret), so, by all means, let us know your thoughts.

As a means to get you started, below is a random sampling of some of the comments our spam filter blocked in mailbag form. If this doesn’t get your creative juices flowing, nothing will.

“Hi there, your web site is discount. Me thank you for do the job 465951.”

Not entirely sure how our web site “is discount,” but you are very welcome for us “do the job.” Really, it’s our pleasure.

“We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you.”

Wow. An entire community thankful to us for the impressive job we do. We wish you and your volunteers the absolute best in your new scheme in your community, we hope the movie reviews we have provided can assist in some small way.

“This website is realy awesome! I just wanna say thank you for sharing this kind of sexdate information with us.”

Sexdate information? We are not entirely sure what review you are talking about, but we suppose that each movie review is open to interpretation. We are glad you find the website to be “realy awesome.” All the best.

We were not told Viagra had an adorable mascot.

“This is one of the best websites that I’ve ever read. Check out viagra.”

Thank you very much for your kind words. We will check out viagra!

“Pretty section of content. I simply stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to say that I acquire actually loved account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you get admission to constantly rapidly.”

Thanks for taking the time to let us know, but you appear to have had a stroke. Please get off the Internet and seek immediate medical assistance.

“Wonderful goods from you, man. I have keep in mind your stuff previous to and you are just extremely fantastic. I actually like what you’ve got right here, certainly like what you are stating and the way through which you are saying it. You’re making it enjoyable and you continue to care for to stay it smart. I can not wait to learn much more from you. That is really a tremendous website.”

You are making us blush. Please keep visiting the RockMovieProject for more wonderful goods!

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The Bourne Supremacy (Erin: 3 Stars, Bret: 3.5 Stars)

When he asks for a security deposit, just hand it over; it’s for the best.

When last we left Jason Bourne, he had hung up his ninja skills to retreat to a peaceful life of operating a scooter rental service in a tropical paradise with a lady that kind of looks like a guy.

His story continues in The Bourne Supremacy, the second installment of the Bourne series which — SPOILER ALERT — involves some kicking.

The Bourne Supremacy, of course, narrowly beating out other potential nonsensical titles like:

  • The Bourne Absorbency (too dry)
  • The Bourne Complacency (too meh)
  • The Bourne Infancy (too pre-quelly)
  • The Bourne Meteorology (too weathery)
  • The Bourne Intimacy (too creepy)
  • The Bourne Corpulency (too fat)
  • The Bourne Endocrinology (too medical)
  • The Bourne Insolvency (too sad)
  • The Bourne Oceanography (too wet)
  • The Bourne Psuedopregnancy (too weird)
  • The Bourne Supersecrecy (too perfect)
  • The Bourne Immunodeficiency (too ill)

The crazy part? That’s a video, they are just moving too fast for the human eye to perceive it.

The movie was not as good, in our opinions, as its predecessor, but if you like watching fight scenes that move so fast you’ll have no idea who was hitting whom, this is the movie for you. Still a high-quality flick which received 3 Stars from Erin and 3.5 Stars from Bret.

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The Bourne Identity (Erin: 3.5 Stars, Bret: 4.25 Stars)

Seen here, incapable of fighting his way out of a wet paper bag.

Years from now, we’ll tell our kids and our grandkids that there was a time when Matt Damon did not appear capable of breaking another man’s neck with his bare hands. All that changed with the amnesiac assassin flick, The Bourne Identity.

Without trampling too much on our video review above, you can make a sufficient case that the Bourne series were some of the most important films of the last 15 years.

Laugh all you want, but without the Bourne series, do we have Casino Royale, a very realistic (at least in film terms) and enjoyable Bond movie? Without them do we have Batman Begins and the Nolan Batman trilogy?

Without Damon being cast as Bourne, does an excellent actor like Liam Neeson (Taken, Unknown, The Grey, etc.) get a chance to be an action hero with a brain? Does Robert Downey, Jr. get to be Iron Man or Sherlock Holmes?

“Darker! Grittier!”

Like it or not, The Bourne Identity introduced words like “gritty” and “dark” into our film lexicon. It’s a bad thing because now EVERYTHING has to be “dark” and “gritty,” but it’s a good thing because some things SHOULD be “dark” and “gritty.”

Along those same lines, The Bourne Identity ushered in an era of films where realism is considered a virtue; where not every car bursts into flames at the slightest touch; and where, even in a film where a man dresses as a bat to fight crime, the makers of the film feel compelled to justify why he does that and how it is possible, if improbable.

It also demonstrated that an action hero doesn’t need to be all brawn and no brains, a fairly amazing revelation and one that actors like Neeson and Downey, Jr. — as well as the audiences watching them — should be grateful for.

In the end, the film industry is better for this movie and, in part for that, Erin gives it 3.5 Stars and Bret gives it 4.25 Stars.

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Boogie Nights (Erin: 2 Stars, Bret: 2.5 Stars)

There is no better way for us to describe Boogie Nights than to just flat out tell you it’s a harrowing experience.

We felt exhausted after watching Black Hawk Down because of the pure adrenaline and intensity surging through that film; we felt similarly exhausted after watching Boogie Nights, but more because of just how tormenting and agonizing the film was.

Boogie Nights’ Hero — a coked-out, potentially psychotic porn star.

Who knew that a movie about the porn industry with dozens of unsavory characters, no real, relatable protagonist and with complete disregard for a happy ending (pun not intended) could be this depressing?

But who knew that that same movie could be so incredibly well-made? With such nuanced characters? And include such a great cast?

It’s really an interesting movie in the end and one that probably would have gotten a higher score from both of us if we had waited a day or two after watching the movie to review it.

But alas, rules are rules (and, by the way, you should really check out the RULES of the RockMovieProject if you have not done so already) and we had to review it immediately, resulting in 2 Stars from Erin and 2.5 from Bret.

And now, presented without commentary for your entertainment, three and a half minutes of Julianne Moore crying in movies:

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