Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: Drive Angry 3D

This review is posted at OK.

There’s this new documentary out, called Drive Angry 3D. No doubt recorded with a system of hidden cameras, surveillance film and superbly drawn animation by eyewitnesses, it tells you exactly what it’s like to be Nicolas Cage for 104 minutes.

As you’d expect, much gunfire, sex, gunfire during sex and catchphrases spoken during sexy gunfire are included. And it’s all in 3D, which may sound cool but is actually a flaw because Nicolas Cage experiences everything in approximately 8D.

Amber Heard is around, because it is written that wherever danger and sexy shorts are, there Amber shall be. Don’t be grossed out that Heard is about half the age of Nicolas Cage, because they’re not romantically linked. While it may sound like an oxymoron to say that Cage and any other woman on the planet are not romantically linked, take it from me that it’s the truth. The only explanation for this anomaly is that the animal attraction between Heard and Nicolas Cage is so overwhelmingly strong that it inverts into a supernova that results in them just being cool crime-fighting teammates. Sort of like Batman and Robin, only without as much sexual tension.

For the entire movie, Heard and Nicolas Cage do nothing but kill, race and kill some more. To ask why they are doing this is as unnecessary as to ask why Rocky swallows egg yolks or where all the Kardashians come from. And even though it is unnecessary to ask, these questions all share the same one-word, all-caps answer: BECAUSE.

Nicolas Cage has many enemies in the movie, two of which survive long enough to not have their knees immediately shot off or to be impaled onto walls. These enemies are a cult leader played by Billy Burke and an accountant played by William Fichtner. To say Burke and Fichtner are Nicolas Cage’s enemies is as laughable as to say an ant is the enemy of a factory of Raid, but you just have to suspend disbelief for a while and go with it, knowing in the back of your head that if Nicolas Cage decided not to toy with them, the movie would last only a few seconds. Nicolas Cage is nothing if not a sportsman, and wants to put on a good show for all the kids in the room.

To judge a Nicolas Cage movie is presumptuous enough of an offense to be blasted in the face by Nicolas Cage’s Close-Up Gun (so named because whenever it’s shown, it’s always in close up), so I will not do so. But before I depart I must applaud the 3D in the movie. While thoroughly 5Ds short of the awesomeness of Nicolas Cage 8D, what Ds are there are D-lightful. Nary a scene goes by without some object, person or bodily fluid launching out at you and threatening to dive straight into your corneas, which is as it should be. For the life of Nicolas Cage involves much ducking, dodging and cornea damage, as well as 8D shootout sex with everyone but Amber Heard.

Starring Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner and Billy Burke. Written by Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier. Directed by Lussier. 104 minutes. Rated R.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review: Just Go With It

This review is posted at OK.

Being a fan of Adam Sandler movies is a lot like being a fan of the Baltimore Orioles. They let you down every year without fail, yet you retain your fandom and optimistically give them shot after shot due to ingrained loyalty based on fading childhood memories that – at some point in time – they were actually good.

It’s with this mindset that I found myself overjoyed that Just Go With It isn’t as much of a disaster as last year’s Grown Ups or that 2005 remake of The Longest Yard. Sandler’s newest romantic comedy, which amounts to an over-40 sex symbol fantasy camp due to the presence of bikini-sporting co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman, is adamantly mediocre while always watchable.

I’ll easily forgive that the plot is based on the extreme idiocy of every character, some of whom are holding eye-gougingly dumb secrets from the others, but it’s tough to be at peace with the painful lack of laughs. What’s even tougher to stomach is having to watch Sandler pull out an inspired bit of lunacy only to repeat it three more times, running it into the ground so hard you’d expect it to strike oil.

Sandler plays a womanizer who hangs out at bars wearing a fake wedding ring, which gets women to let down their guard and become one-night stands. He’s secretly been in love all along with his single-mother assistant (Aniston), but decides instead that he wants a relationship with his latest fling (Brooklyn Decker), a rare woman he seduces without his wedding ring trick. When she finds the ring in his pants pocket, he decides to craft an elaborate lie that grows into him being on the verge of divorce with Aniston and father of her two kids. Sandler coerces Aniston and the kids to lie to Decker, and so begins the ill-fated charade.

This leads to a Hawaiian vacation, for no good reason except for the fact that Sandler has no doubt longed for another paid vacation there since making 50 First Dates. There, Aniston runs into her former sorority frenemy (Nicole Kidman), to whom she feels she must prove she’s married to Sandler in order to seem happy and successful.

There have been many episodes of Full House that packed in more funny moments per minute than Just Go With It. But there are just enough touches of the old Sandler – the one who was such an outrageous crack-up throughout the 1990s – to keep you halfway-eagerly coming back to whatever nonsense he creates next year. There are also more than enough finger-gun-to-the-head moments to make you resent the fact that you had to fall so hard for Sandler in his five good movies that you’re willing to suffer through his 10 bad ones.

Starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker and Nicole Kidman. Written by Allan Loeb, Timothy Dowling and I.A.L. Diamond, based on a French play adapted by Abe Burrows, originally by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Gredy. Directed by Dennis Dugan. PG-13. 150 minutes.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Money Crashers reviews Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel

Money Crashers came through with this great review of my book. (Yes, I am still out there bugging people to review it). An excerpt:

This book is listed as a humor book – and rightfully so. The author seems to take advantage of this classification especially in the last third of the book, which consists of some hilarious frugal tips that are “gross, mean, and oh so wrong.” I would not lend power tools to anyone who actually puts any of these into practice.