Category Archives: Kyle

Shoot ‘Em Up

When a mysterious loner named Mr. Smith (Clive Owen) delivers a woman’s baby during an intense shoot-out, he inadvertently runs afoul of the ruthless Mr. Hertz (Paul Giamatti). Now, aided by the enigmatic DQ (Monica Bellucci), Smith must shield the newborn from Hertz and his henchmen. Ramona Pringle and Stephen McHattie co-star in this bullet-riddled action-thriller from writer-director Michael Davis.

Kyle
Rating: 7 out of 10

Testosterone-induced action? Check. Sweet British protagonist? Check. Hot Italian (literally, not Jersey Shore-style) female lead? Check. Evil eccentric antagonist? Check.

This film’s action is purposefully campy, which is why I enjoyed it so much. The situations in which gunplay took place were very creative and entertaining. Nothing was funnier than watching Owen and Bellucci get it on while Owen was killing some bad guys left and right.

Despite its campiness, there was, surprisingly, an OK story. Perhaps it isn’t as deep as a Jack Ryan film, but solid enough to balance the campiness. Besides “Big Fat Liar,” I don’t think I’ve seen Giamatti play a villain and thought he did pretty well; definitely fit the role of the extremely smart antagonist. This film was certainly worth the six bucks I dished out at Best Buy.

Rushmore

Wunderkind Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), a sophomore at upscale Rushmore Academy and the president of myriad school clubs, sees his world turn topsy-turvy when he’s smitten with widowed first-grade teacher Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams). To win her heart, Max enlists the aid of self-made steel magnate and school benefactor Herman J. Blume (Bill Murray), only to end up vying with the millionaire industrialist for Rosemary’s affections. Directed by Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Royal Tenenbaums).

Kyle
Rating: 9 out of 10

I was in the sixth grade the first time I watched this film. I didn’t understand the comedic elements at the time but there was just something about it that appealed to me so much.

It’s been ten years and I still love this film. The world that Wes Anderson creates is so intriguing to me. He presents this retroactive group of people who operates independent of modern society. I don’t think I’ve loved and hated a protagonist as much as Max Fischer. What compliments this film even more is the musical score, in this case and most unsually, by Mark Mothersbaugh.

Also, this film definitely opened up my eyes for Bill Murray’s potential as an actor. For a while, I was getting a little tired of the roles he played but when I saw this I couldn’t believe his performance. When he appeared in more in Wes’ films, as well as “Lost In Translation” and “Broken Flowers,” I was just amazed.

The Virginity Hit

The quest — losing one’s virginity — is an ancient one, but the tools used to document it are distinctly modern in this mockumentary about a young man’s endeavors to “close the deal,” as his buddies (and documentarians) so charmingly put it. When Matt’s untimely breakup with a girlfriend throws a monkey wrench into his plans, his friends urge him to continue the mission anyway — with them along to film the adventures. Directed by Huck Botko (Mail Order Wife).

Kyle
Rating: 8 out of 10

I went into this expecting to be a raunchy teen comedy — and that’s exactly what I got, and then some. I don’t mean for that statement to sound negative, I just knew after watching the preview this was going to be a different and very raunchy comedy. The film accurately depicts how teens view and joke around about sex nowadays. Hearing insults like “dick hole” and colorful comments like, “Tell her you want to fuck the taste out of her mouth,” it was like watching my friends and I when we were in high school.

Aside from the hilarious dialogue, I think the most entertainment I got from the film was what the main character, Matt, kept getting himself into while trying to lose his virginity. If I had to go on this sexually frustrating journey, I would’ve given up less than halfway. The situations, though a bit unbelievable when put altogether, definitely present some of what people in 2010 are dealing with in relationships, and not just virgins.

The only thing that didn’t sit well with me was the heavy and obvious use of product placement. I think I saw almost every Apple product on the market, not to mention the alcohol brands and Gatorade. I think doing so made it a little more apparent that this really wasn’t a documentary about a kid trying to lose his virginity. All in all, I thought it was executed very well and the hand-held style fit perfectly.

Films that define us

All of us have particular movies we’ve seen, whether as an adult or child, that stay with us in a way others hadn’t before. They’re special experiences we hold onto, whether it was because you saw them with a close friend or the film connected with your life in a personal way. These are movies that define us, and we’re breaking down each by genre. Each week, one of our contributors will list the movies that defined them.

Kyle

Comedy: As I am back to school now, I can’t help but think about Real Genius. This is one of the movies I grew up watching and always laughed at Val Kilmer’s performance as the brilliant goofball Chris Knight. As I got older, though, I began to take away some of the philosophy presented by Chris. His character taught me that if you take some things in life like education or your career too seriously, it could consume you.

Action/Adventure: “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” Ahhhh man, such dialogue! Predator is the one movie I’m glad my dad made me watch over and over with him when I was little. I’m not a huge action movie lover but there is something about this film that tickles my fancy. I think it might be the idea of how a group of professionally trained and experienced soldiers react to being hunted, much less the fact that an alien is hunting them. I don’t think there’s anything more manly in a film than seeing a montage of a soldier using basic survival and defense skills to defeat an adversary.

Science Fiction: The Matrix came out when I was in the sixth grade; I thought it was my favorite science fiction film ever… until I saw Equilibrium. Personally, I thought the plot was more appealing, particularly how the society’s hand-to-hand and defense and shooting offense is all based on physics and statistics. Also, this film was the first taste of (grown-up) Christian Bale’s acting capabilities.  

Drama: Without a doubt, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is, and always will be, my favorite film from the drama genre. What digs down deep inside me is how realistic Jim Carrey’s and Kate Winslet’s relationship is portrayed; how we all start out giddy and very interested in your partner and how it can decay into just two people who live and bicker with one other constantly. The visuals were also very unique; using simple, yet effective techniques and some forced perspective shots. The climax is definitely a tearjerker for me.  

Horror: Since my dad introduced me to the action film that defines me, my mother definitely introduced me to this horror film that defines me. Halloween was the first horror film that I watched that scared me psychologically, but without using gore. Halloween has a blend of mystery, suspense, musical score and photography that fit so beautifully together to make a great horror film.

 

Family/Children: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was and is my absolute favorite children’s film when I was a child. I loved watching this movie and never got sick of it. I loved it so much that I would constantly make the infamous shrinking machine using my tinker toys and Legos. Aside from the idea a machine that could make things bigger or smaller, the idea of going on a dangerous adventure in my own backyard excited me. Sliding down a leaf of grass, eating a gigantic oatmeal cookie or riding on an ant didn’t seem impossible to do… when you’re five at least.

The Room

Uninhibited by cinematic convention, this quirky cult favorite about lust and duplicity delivers nonstop laughs from beginning to end as the film’s central character (writer-director Tommy Wiseau) discovers that his foxy fiancée, Lisa (Juliette Danielle), is bedding his best friend. Adding to the hilarity are Greg Sestero, who plays the backstabbing buddy, and Carolyn Minnott as Lisa’s materialistic mom.

Kylne
Rating: 2 out of 10

This is one of those films you HAVE to see… and then never see again. It’s so bad that it’s funny. They should show this in introduction to film classes as an example of what NOT to do in a film. Unforgettable lines like “Oh hi Mark,” You are tearing me apart Lisa!” and “… anyway, how is your sex life?” will be embedded in your mind. For about a month I would mimic Johnny’s creepy laugh after people spoke, even if they didn’t say anything that caused laughter.

Tommy Wiseau (director, producer, writer and actor) is one of those weird cousins or uncles you have that just don’t make sense or fit in with the family, no less in society for that matter. After watching some interviews online and on the DVD, it is clear this guy doesn’t know what he’s saying or doing nor does anyone around him. I can see why quite a few people involved with this film walked away due to creative differences… or perhaps a realization of how terrible this movie would turn out and what would happen to their reputation if this were on their résumé. To me, he is one nonsensical interview away from convincing me he doesn’t know what he’s doing ever; an episode entitled “Tommy” of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job flaunts this theory of mine.

There are so many things wrong in “The Room” that it’s hard to name them all; plot holes, the script, acting, lighting, etc. For example, Lisa’s mother states at one point in the film she has breast cancer but that subplot is never revisited. I haven’t counted how many times this happens but if you watch the film, whenever a character enters the scene for the first time, the other character always proclaims “Oh hi [Insert name].” I can’t wait until I get a chance to download the RiffTrax to this film and enjoy it even more. The film has a tremendous following and, similar to “Rocky Horror Picture Shows,” plays monthly at many theaters.

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The Switch

Still single and increasingly attuned to the cacophony of her biological clock, 40-something Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) decides that if she can’t find a mate she’ll still pursue motherhood with the help of a sperm sample that’s not quite as anonymous as she thinks. As the baby grows up, Kassie’s best friend, Wally (Jason Bateman), agonizes over whether to reveal that he secretly replaced the donor sample with his own DNA.

Kyle
Rating: 5 out of 10

I wasn’t quite familiar with this film, as I only saw advertisements and the trailer a few weeks ago. Perhaps I haven’t been avidly following upcoming films as well as I used to, but I don’t think they marketed this film very well… and I see why. I went into this film thinking it was going to be an atypical romantic comedy, seeing they advertised this film with the statement: “From the people that brought you ‘Juno’ and ‘Little Miss Sunshine.’”

However, this film lacks the essence of both of those films. It is much, much more dry with several unintentionally awkward scenes and the inevitable awkwardness of Jeff Goldblum. His earlier work was entertaining, but now I just find him incredibly odd and he doesn’t bring anything interesting to his roles. I was looking forward to seeing Juliette Lewis but I wasn’t really impressed. The story was OK but I find the fact that it took more than ten years of close friendship and a child for Aniston’s and Bateman’s characters to consider being together.

Bateman put on a great performance, proving he his capable of more dramatic roles. I thought for sure that Jennifer Aniston would completely disappoint me, as I am not a fan, but she gave an adequate and tolerable performance. The one actor who caught my eye was Thomas Robinson, the little boy who played Sebastian. His delivery and performance, for someone his age, was quite amazing. All in all, I thought the film was OK, but I probably won’t see it again.

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Memento

Memento chronicles two separate stories of Leonard, an ex-insurance investigator who can no longer build new memories, as he attempts to find the murderer of his wife, which is the last thing he remembers. One story line movies forward in time while the other tells the story backwards revealing more each time. The movie stars Guy Pearce (Factory Girl, Hurt Locker) and is directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception, The Prestige).

Kyle
Rating: 10 out of 10

With the recent success of “Inception,” I find myself suggesting the hell out of “Memento.” People will tell me how much they enjoyed “Inception” and appreciated how in-depth the plot was. My immediate response has been: “If you really liked ‘Inception’ as well as the reprisal of the Batman franchise, you absolutely have to see ‘Memento.’ It leaves you with the same reactions, but without all the CGI.”

The script for this was so beautifully written. Every time I watch it I think to myself, “How did they come up with and storyboard this to work out the way that it does?!”  It’s so easy to understand how it is set up after a few scenes but trying to explain it to others can be difficult. Also, I particularly enjoyed how the characters that enter Leonard’s world cope with his condition. At some point they lie, manipulate, tease, sympathize and aid him on his journey for justice. All at the same time, they try so hard to believe that his condition is like a wound that will heal when he finds his wife’s killer.

The main character Leonard is someone that the audience, at first, can empathize with but as the film progresses, and he is revealed as a different person than we thought. Perhaps it was because I was quite young when I first saw this but the climax to this film is probably one of the best I have ever seen; so much is revealed about Leonard’s past that it is quite overwhelming. There isn’t anything more I can say other than to GO RENT THIS FILM!

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Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Scott Pilgrim’s 23 years old, in a rock band, between jobs, and dating a cute high school girl. Everything’s fantastic until a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, roller-blading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties. But the path to Ramona’s heart isn’t covered in rose petals. Her seven evil exes stand between Scott and true happiness. The film is based on the Oni Press graphic novel “Scott Pilgrim Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life.” The film stars Michael Cera (Super Bad, Youth in Revolt) as Pilgrim. Directed by Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead).

Kyle
Rating: 8 out of 10

I know what some of you may be thinking: “Oh, another Michael Cera movie. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” I hate to burst your bubble but this definitely isn’t your typical Michael Cera film. What the cast and crew brought to “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” was truly a unique blend of action, comedy and romance. The moment the Universal Studios logo hit the screen, I was laughing. The moment a duel-to-the-death began to take place, I was at the edge of my seat with anticipation. Even the heartbreak and romance within the film was relatable to those who haven’t had the best of luck in relationships. The film continued to surprise me from scene to scene; from the random acts of the characters and their dialogue, to the visual and sound effects mimicking NES games, the film is nonstop fun.

There is an ideal combination of special effects and physical hand-to-hand combat with a dash of arcade style humor. It was like watching a live-action comic book fight or video game battle take place right before your very eyes! Nothing beats hearing an enthusiastic howl of “K.O.” from a non-existent referee.

The fact that it opened alongside “The Expendables” and “Eat Prey Love” is disappointing. The combination of these two movie’s audiences unfortunately exceeds the comic book/video game audience. Whether it’s by word-of-mouth or its Blu-ray and DVD release, I strongly hope  this film gets the attention and respect it deserves.

The Movie Brothers are happy to welcome Kyle Baker as a new contributor. He’s an avid movie lover and studied television and digital film design and production at the State University of New York at Fredonia. For those of you who use Flixter on facebook, Kyle is a regular reviewer.