Category Archives: Matt


Career firefighter Cathkart (Danny DeVito) and his wife (Katey Sagal) are ready to embrace their golden years, but push comes to shove when the only way to reclaim the nest from their slacker sons Elliot (Ryan Hansen) and Quinn (Skyler Stone) is to move out first. Left holding the keys, the fumbling couch potatoes get a crash course in suburban reality as the bills multiply and their newly founded lemonade stand goes belly-up.

Rating: 3 out of 10

I am so disappointed in Danny DeVito. I sound like his overbearing mother in the classic comedy “Throw Momma From the Train,” but this film is far below DeVito’s talent and sensibilities.

DeVito has been a stand out from his early work in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” to television’s Taxi and as a director of such films as “The War of the Roses” and “Death to Smoochie.” As a producer, he was nominated for best picture for “Erin Brockovich”  and holds Emmys and Golden Globes. So why “Housebroken” — a dopey movie full of prat falls and bad acting, even by DeVito?

This is a typical movie about parents trying to ditch their kids who have never grown up and moved out. The description doesn’t sounds great, but I thought DeVito could pull this one out. Instead, it’s a boring, dumb “comedy” full of farting and stereotypes.

Burning Bright

 After her lousy stepfather (Garret Dillahunt) steals her savings to buy a vicious tiger, Kelly (Briana Evigan) loses all hope of going to college. But Kelly’s situation worsens when a hurricane leaves her and her autistic brother boarded up in their house with the man-eating beast. This edge-of-your-seat thriller follows the gutsy heroine and her younger sibling as they struggle to outwit the ravenous predator and find a way to survive.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Color me a shameful shade of red, because I actually enjoyed this movie on a lot of levels. The premice is bad — a man clears out his step-daughter’s bank account just as she’s about to use every penny she has to turn her autistic brother over to a home so she can go to college and he spends the money on a tiger he gets from Meatloaf. The tiger, of course, then gets loose in the house. It’s comepletely moronic, but fun. There are a couple of real moments of tension and parts that made me jump. I watched this with my mother, who couldn’t help but yell, “Don’t go in there!” About 90 percent of the movie is running from a tiger and the only two character during that time are the autistic boy and his sister, played well by Briana Evigan, who is making a name for herself in horror movies like “Sorority Row.” It was also an interesting dynamic to see the girl and her brother, who doesn’t talk much because of his condition. She’s panicking and running around trying to find bullets for a gun or distract the tiger while the boy doesn’t even flinch when the beast nearly nabs him. If you’re in the mood for a dopy movie, this one should do the trick.

Get Him to the Greek

Ambitious young record company intern Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) will let nothing get in the way of his planned rise to the top in the music business — not even the unruly rock star (Russell Brand) he must escort to Los Angeles for the start of his anniversary concert. Doing whatever it takes to get the rocker from Point A to Point B, Aaron encounters all manners of mishaps in this comedy directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and produced by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up).

Rating: 2 out of 10

Isn’t there a point during the production of a comedy where the director is supposed to ask, “Wait… shouldn’t this be funny?”

I didn’t laugh at all at this movie, which was a sort-of sequel to “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” that featured two of its lesser characters. I mistakenly was looking forward to seeing this and was disappointed to find that the film lost itself with loads of awkward and dirty moments that didn’t lead to laughs. Look, I get dirty humor. But I don’t need to see Jonah Hill shove a condom full of heroin up his morbidly obese ass. That dude seriously needs to lose some weight. He’s on a fast track for diabetes. And Russel Brand was boring and predictable. He has this swagger about him that shouts, “Look at me! I’m funny and charming, aren’t I?” No. No you’re not. The writing didn’t help his case. I didn’t find his rock star character’s sappy love song about his unit called “My Bangers and Mash” very funny. It’s just dumb. You can be dirty and clever — and even charming if it’s done right. Apatow did that so well with “Knocked Up” and “40 Year Old Virgin.” This was just an over-produced film with very little thought put into it. I feel like I lost a few I.Q. points watching this.

There are times when having a potty mouth is funny, but Judd Apatow needs to be slapped on the wrist for this one.

Cowboys and Aliens trailer


Here’s the first peak at “Cowboys and Aliens,” Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s graphic novel series that is making its way to the big screen next summer through the lens of director Jon Favreau. The story features amnesiac gunslinger Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig), who stumbles into the Wild West town of Absolution where he’s confronted by potent enemy Col. Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and a terrifying problem: invading aliens. Aided by the lovely Ella (Olivia Wilde), Jake rallies a posse of the townspeople, Dolarhyde’s minions and local Apache warriors to fight off the extraterrestrial threat. It’s a story of enemies coming together to fight a common enemy.

Favreau has more than proven himself as a director of action-based comic book movies with “Iron Man” and “Iron Man 2.”   Heck, I even like “Elf.” As he did with the Iron Man series, Favreau has another stellar cast with Craig, Ford, Wild, and Keith Carradine, who was great in TV’s “Dexter” and the film “Peacock.” Carradine plays the town sheriff in this picture.  

We’ve had a string of crummy, forgettable summer action movies — from “The Expendables” to “ The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time” “Clash of the Titans” the Transformers films, and the list goes on. Favreau hasn’t steered us wrong yet with an action movie, so I have faith this is going to be one of the best popcorn movies to see next summer. 

Jonah Hex

Enlisted by a Union soldier (Will Arnett), scarred bounty hunter Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) scours the Wild West in pursuit of Turnbull (John Malkovich), a crazed voodoo master with a scheme to assemble a devastating weapon that will destroy the government and lift the Confederacy. Based on the cult DC Comics hero, this action Western co-stars Michael Shannon as strange circus impresario Doc Cross Williams and Megan Fox as the prostitute Lilah.

Rating: 5 out of 10

This movie had a lot of flash and little substance.

It’s an unusual comic book movie because it doesn’t include a super hero, similar to “Hellboy” — which I loved. You have to suspend reality whenever you watch a comic book movie. This time it’s a Confederate solider who turns in his men for bad deeds and they kill him and his family. He is badly beaten and turtured and some Native Americans find him and save him. Now, he’s half dead and can talk to the dead. OK, I can deal with that. In fact, this was one of the movies I was looking forward to most last summer.

However, instead of developing characters that would have interested me — like Malcovich’s bastard of a villain — we have to deal with a love interest in Fox that is wedged into the script. It slows things down, there’s too much going on, and the result are undeveloped characters that seems to be pieced together between big, sexy action sequences.

This could have been worse, but it could have been much better.

Harry and Tonto

Ripping a page from John Steinbeck’s novel Travels with Charley, this bittersweet comedy follows an old codger named Harry (Art Carney) as he takes a cross-country trip with his cat, Tonto, as a companion. The film, which earned TV comedy veteran Carney a well-deserved best actor Academy Award, also features Ellen Burstyn, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Larry Hagman, Josh Mostel and Melanie Mayron. Paul Mazursky directs.

Rating: 9 out of 10

I’m really surprised this movie doesn’t have a bigger following. It’s truly timeless and deals with themes like broken family, love lost, aging, and the major changes in life — the ones that get us as lost as we need to,  so that when we find ourselves again, we are refreshed.

This takes Harry, played masterfully in an understated and precise role by Carney, on an absurd journey. In the hands of another actor, this could have been considered obsurb. But Carney’s delivery is so believable that we never question the present. It reminded me of “Forest Gump” in that respect — Tom Hanks was so good in the role, we never cared that he could run across America and back, then back again, win an Olympic gold medal, a Congressional Medal of Honor, and be an all-American football star.

Harry’s journey is much simpler, though it does take some emotional, funny and fasinating turns as he and his cat ,Tonto, journey from New York to Chicago and Los Angeles — he hitches a ride with a high-priced hooker, takes in a homeless girl, and ends up in prison for urinating in public. But the movie’s not about the traveling, it’s about the journey.

Hollywood legend Dino De Laurentiis dead at 91

Hollywood and the Italian film industry  lost one of its legendary producers Thursday.

According to an Associated Press reporter, Oscar-winning Italian film producer Dino De Laurentiis, who brought to the big screen nearly 500 films including “Serpico,” “Three Days of the Condor” and “King Kong,” died in Los Angeles at the age of 91.

De Laurentiis produced several Italian classics in collaboration, including Federico Fellini’s “La Strada,” for which he won an Oscar in 1957. He also won the Academy’s Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, a life time achievement award given to producers “whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production,” according to the Academy.

De Laurentis, whose granddaughter is the Food Network show host Giada, moved to the United States in the 1970s after the failure of his film studios in Rome, and turned to a string of big international productions, including a few flops. He produced a great deal of horror, suspense and science fiction, like  “Barbarella” “Conan the Barbarian” and “King Kong Lives.”

He was behind the legendary King Kong  remake of 1976, the killer whale film “Orca,” several adaptations of Stephen King’s novels like “Cat’s Eye,” and most recently “Hannibal,” the sequel to “The Silence of the Lambs.

Winter’s Bone

In this noir drama set deep in Ozark territory, resilient teenager Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) goes on the trail of her missing drug-dealing father when his absence jeopardizes the safety of their family. The deadbeat dad has a critical court date pending, and Ree is determined that he make it — despite the objections of the insular Dolly clan. Director Debra Granik’s unflinching drama won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

Rating: 8 out of 10

I used to work in Glens Falls, NY, so I wasn’t too surprised by some of the utter redneck, white trash lifestyles so accurately portrayed in this film. However, if you haven’t spent time in the poverty-stricken rural areas of America, this film has some powerful imagery and situations that may surprise some or may remind you of people you’ve met and places you’ve been.

We follow Ree Dolly, a 17 year old taking care of her younger brother and sister, along with her mentally ill mother, through some disturbing scenes of drug dealers and criminals associated with her father. It’s a simple premise — a girl looking for her missing father because if he misses a court date, the family loses their home.

The film moves patiently, wrapped around an outstanding performance from Lawrence. We see the old tires and broken tractors with weeds growing around them, dirty, worn toys lingering in the yard and a tone of speaking heard only in these parts. There is not looking down the nose at these people. It is an honest portrayal of some of the uglier parts of our country we don’t often see or speak of, which is why I found it so engaging.  Don’t be surprised if this gets a best picture Oscar nomination.

The Hunted

Tommy Lee Jones is Agent Bonhan, an FBI deep-woods tracker who captures an assassin (Benicio Del Toro) with a weird proclivity — he makes a sport of killing deer hunters. When the killer escapes in the city, Bonham must team up with another Bureau agent (Connie Nielsen) to hunt down the thrill killer before he starts to hunt them. William Friedkin directs.

Rating: 3 out of 10

I love William Friedkin. If you’re not aware of him, he’s the Oscar-winning director of both “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist.” He’s a die hard proponent of blu-ray and loves explaining the in’s and out’s of the filmmaking process within the extras on his film’s discs. Friedkin’s entertaining, insightful, and a joy to listen and learn from. It’s with that sentiment I hate admitting that “The Hunted” is a very flawed film. There are so many problems with the writing that I don’t even know where to start. First off, we’re supposed to believe in the idea that Benicio Del Toro’s has gone off the deep end. Well, that’s impossible to accept when every little thing he does is so calculated. He knows exactly when to perform each and every action along with the consequences of a wrong move. If that’s the case, why would he ever go down this path in the first place? Also, I love Del Toro but he’s lifeless here. I want to see a bit more life out of a guy that has essentially thrown his entire life away while being hunted by the man he seemingly respects the most. Also, he seems to understand the tracking process that Tommy Lee Jones uses to find him. If that’s the case, why wouldn’t he do things to throw him off the path? Wouldn’t his own student know how to keep the bloodhound from smelling the blood? Lastly, all of the action scenes have very little emotional involvement. There’s so little back story that was never told. If we could see the progression of Del Toro’s character a bit more and feel the sadness that could come with him becoming a hardened murderer, it would have added so much to the last 1/3rd of the film.

On the bright side, Tommy Lee Jones is as terrific as ever. The Hunted is at its absolute best whenever he’s on screen. Also, Friedkin knows how to stage action and use the camera in interesting ways. Unfortunately, Del Toro and his writers didn’t show the same care for the material.

American Flyers

Sports physician Marcus (Kevin Costner) convinces his estranged brother David (David Marshall Grant) to train and compete in a long-distance bicycle race across the Colorado Rockies. Family friction and a deadly medical condition inherited from the men’s father complicate their relationship during the rigorous training. Director John Badham (Mr. Brooks) captures the breathtaking mountain scenery while giving insight into the tactics of bike racing.

Rating: 2 out of 10

American Flyers has everything a cheesy 80s movie needs: bad mustaches, blonde-haired jerks, Russian bad guys, a come-from-behind sports story, siblings dealing with the recent death of a parent and an awful pop-rock soundtrack.

This flick is chuck full o’ bad dialogue, corny acting and, it’s worth noting, a distractingly bad mustach on Kevin Costner. I still don’t believe it’s really his. It must be fake. This is an overly sentimentally, sticky sweet sap fest and the soundtrack is laughable with all kinds of overly patriotic songs that are really misplaced.

Every scene with Costner and Marshall Grant slowly rotted my brain with overly dramatic dialogue that made what should have been a dramatic story into a laugh fest.

My mother, a huge Costner fan, watched this with me and said, “Even my boy Kevin can’t save this.”