Stunt Granny Movie Review: White House Down

la-et-mn-white-house-down-channing-tatum-theat-001Should you see White House Down?  Should you invest 2 hours and 8-12 bucks towards this film?  Are you on the fence because you already saw Olympus Has Fallen?  Well, you’ve come to the right place.  Here is a quick review/questionnaire which will help you determine to pass or go.

Channing Tatum plays a divorced DC policeman and former Army veteran looking to impress his precocious (aka obnoxious) daughter by attempting to join the secret service.  On that same day, a group of disgruntled ex-civil servants, crazy rednecks, and an obnoxious hacker joins forces to storm the White House to achieve…something.  It involves a Middle East peace plan, defense companies and corporations looking to fund continued conflict, revenge on previous…….look, it’s 2 hours of Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx running around blowing stuff up and cracking jokes.

So, does that sound like they type of movie you want to see?  Not sure yet?  Ok, time to dig deeper…

Are you a fan of Roland Emmerich?  He’s a director who seems to take a perverse enjoyment in destroying American landmarks.  Unlike Al-Qaeda, he tends to operate in very broad strokes, employing one-dimensional characters, loud noises, and humor stolen from the outtakes of Michael Bay movies.  Yet like caramel popcorn and midget fights, he can be enjoyable, in a perverse, slightly morbid fashion.  Independence Day, Godzilla, 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 B.C….when your most subtle film is The Patriot (aka Mel Gibson going William Wallace on the British), then you tend to have a certain reputation.  If you’re a fan of those movies, then you will find enjoyment in this film.

Are you a fan of Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx?   Does the thought of watching Channing doing his best Die Hard impersonation and Jamie answering the question of how Barack Obama would act if he went to a historically black college tickle your fancy? This is 2 hours of racial buddy cop wrapped around an overwrought sandwich of national and global stakes.  Luckily, they possess a modicum of chemistry, and provide the best parts of the film; it slows and drags when they separate.  However, I’m also aware that you’ve seen the trailers, so ask yourself this – do you get a chuckle out of Jamie Foxx telling a dead terrorist to get their hands off his Michael Jordans?  That’s the type of humor you will get.
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Stunt Granny Movie Review: This Is the End

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“This is The End” sure looked pretty bad from the Approved for All Audiences trailer when it was released at the beginning of the year. Ok so it was groan inducing. “Hey look, it is the youngish gen-y kids you know form movies you really liked and some you hated. They all made a movie together but the trick is that the stars are playing….wait for it…..themselves. How cute.” Sure seemed like it was going to be chockfull of in jokes and a lot of smug self-referencing.

Well, the movie does have a lot of self-referencing jokes and they are actually really funny. Maybe having low expectations worked for the better. But of course I blame all of this on the trailer. The jump cuts of their inventory followed by the unfunny discussion about eating a Milky Way bar taints the movies appeal. In the context of the movie it works but as a selling point for the movie it is a poor representation of the humor. The humor is just as biting and quick as “Superbad” and “Knocked Up” while the action calls back to “Pineapple Express”.

You can expect the standard fare of pot jokes, dick jokes, masturbation jokes, some callbacks to their other collaborations and previous films and a lot of laughs. There is also a concerted effort on some of the cameo appearances to break character type and it also some good laughs. If you haven’t gotten the point yet the movie is really funny.

At first I was wondering why they just didn’t play actual characters instead of playing it as themselves.  But then it becomes clear each star of course is not playing themself. They are all playing a variation on their most famous character type. Seth Rogen is the awkward pothead of “Knocked Up” or really any other movie he has been in. Jay Baruchel, the most unheralded of the group, is his condescending and self-righteous self from “She’s Out of MyLeague”. James Franco gets to have the most fun playing a nebulous creation of his perceived sarcastic side that is an internet whipping post and a little bit of Harry Osborne. Jonah Hill seems to be channeling his inner “Moneyball” as he comes across as the exact opposite of any other character he has ever played. Danny McBride smartly plays who is essentially Kenny Powers from “Eastbound and Down”.

This leads to creatively the biggest difference in the movie. While it has its share of funny lines and gags the laughs do not really kick in until the arrival of Danny McBride. As a huge fan of anything Danny McBride, including “Hotrod”, his introduction is perfect. I heard his introduction described as a “pimp moment” and that description is absolutely correct. Adding McBride to the solitary cast added conflict and eventually some attitude to the other characters. He is essential and really McBride hasn’t done anything wrong other than Your Highness, which is even mentioned and appropriately goofed on in the movie.

After this all sets in the laughs really start. Stealing a page from Shahid, a quick rundown of the plot:

Jay visits Seth in LA and they go to James Franco’s house for a house-warming party. Well Jay doesn’t like LA so he grabs Seth and they walk to the store for smokes. While there the entire world comes to an end. Yes the apocalypse has hit LA. As you know from the trailer everyone is confined to the Franco abode as they try and figure out how to survive and figure out what just happened.

Is it all absurd? Of course it is but isn’t that what made “Pineapple Express” and “Superbad” pretty damn good? It is also going to be considered blasphemous by any Christian. There are comedic representations of demonic possession, exorcisms, Lucifer/Satan, and depending on your Christian swing the trivialization of core beliefs. Yes the end of the world in this case is the actual Biblical apocalypse from the Book of Revelation.

The flick also darts off in different directions to make fun of horror and apocalyptic genre movies but never loses site of the core comedic elements. Even at the end of the world with Lucifer  roaming the land with junk a flying and cannibals roaming the streets the movie never stops bringing the funny.

For a movie that received a good deal of groans from the preview it won me over. It is worth the ticket price and in today’s inflated ticket prices I wouldn’t lead you astray.  So hit the local gogoloplex, sneak in your food and drink and silence your god damn cell phones (really how do you not remember by now?) and watch this flick or wait for blue-ray. Whatever, I don’t know your financial situation. Just don’t watch it on DVD. I mean come on you aren’t that poor.  -Jeremy

Stunt Granny Movie Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

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G.I.Joe: Retaliation, directed by Jon M. Chu, is a fun, brain dead movie. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily but for everything it does right it does a lot wrong. The movie both suffers and excels from having to alleviate the failings of its predecessor. The first quarter of the movie sets the new tone for the franchise and quickly dispels the ridiculous battle suits and sci-fi elements that made the first movie reprehensible. They still use high-tech weapons but this in a grounded approach. These are soldiers this time around instead of cardboard cutouts with Robocop suits. Immediately the tone is set as a combat movie with over the top circumstances and it works for forty-five minutes. After this initial establishing of tone and house cleaning, the flaws of the film start to show through as the plot progresses.

Chu, whose last feature effort was “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never”, yeah that one, steers the movie with a loose hand. He pushes the plot at such a rapid pace that nothing really seems to matter. When a character dies it isn’t dwelled upon at all but we are supposed to believe it carries great weight. Nothing resonates so there is no emotional attachment. The larger actions scenes are chaotic and confusing and it works. The ambush of The Joes in particular is all over the place and it helps tie in to the characters confusion. On the other hand the close combat hand to hand fight scenes are shot too close. Sure the fists and feet are flying but none of the blows carry weight. The use of the bullet time slow-motion technology has really run its course and was used as a crutch to prop up the schizophrenic battle between Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes.

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Stunt Granny Monthly Movie Guide for March 2013

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Welcome Stunt Granny readers to the first installment of the Stunt Granny Monthly Movie Guide. Each month I will be bringing you a few select trailers for the month’s big releases. Yeah the preview will be full of opinion but then why else are you even bothering reading this site?  Of course in typical Stunt Granny fashion I got a late start so we are only going over the final two weeks of March. Check back around the beginning of each month for more trailers and exposition. Well, if you are interested in that kind of thing. -Jeremy

Olympus Has Fallen – March 22, 2013

Good lord another Gerard Butler action flick. This guy hasn’t made a good movie since, um, 300? Machine Gun Preacher was just meh but not terrible. It is good to see him out of his awful romantic comedies though.  This flick is directed by Antoine Fuqua who has to be one of the most confounding directors in the last twenty years. He has a clear visual style but he allows his movies to plod along. There is just something about all of his films that is never quite right. Something has held him back for years from making a truly great movie. This movie looks to be another in that line of near misses. The plot is typical Hollywood big budget disaster flick mixed with a Die Hard scenario. Ugh, nothing original and judging from the previews nothing we haven’t seen before. Totally skipping this one.

Spring Breakers – March 22, 2013

On the surface this looks like a movie made just to exploit its young stars. You may be correct in this assumption but then you look at who directed this and you have the possibility for one psychotic romp. Yes, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens have found themselves the star of a Harmony Korine film. Yes the same guy that wrote Kids. Yes the same guy that directed Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy and Trash Humpers. The trailer looks like a total disaster but if anyone can tighten up a disaster it is Korine.  It has the potential to be another Hangover like success but the previews that have made it on television make it look more akin to “Project X” and “21 & Over” and that is not a compliment. There is sure to be a healthy dose of satire mixed in with breasts and a whole lot of swearing. Count me in.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation –  March 28, 2013

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was pure garbage. Outside of the costume worn by Ray Park as Snake-Eyes there wasn’t one good thing about the movie.  As an avid G.I. Joe comics, animated series and movies  and action figures it was an insult. The fact a sequel was being made was a shock as it didn’t do strong box office. On top of that the prospect of bringing back in the same people again was plain infuriating. Well, all my fears were settled as they dumped all but a few people from the original and brought in a new producers and director. Gone is the International format for the Joes as they have been replaced with all fan favorites. The results of all this change has given us a movie that looks and feels just like a G.I. Joe comic.  Every preview that has been released has been better than the last and it has successfully built up a solid buzz. Out of all of the movies being released this year this is in my top ten. It looks to be a solid action flick that will appeal to both diehard fans as well as the general movie going public.

The Host – March 28, 2013

So I finally saw this trailer before “Dead Man Down” last night and boy does this look like a snoozer. It has nothing to do with the fact this is written by the broad who wrote the Twilight novels. Hell, the novels may be good. I have no clue but what I do know is the Twilight movies were unwatchable garbage.  Sorry, this isn’t about Twilight. So, from what I gather the world is taken over by beautiful people who like shiny objects. They apparently nest in humans who essentially become hosts. It is an end of all humanity scenario and all we should care about is the true love between two high glossed teenagers? Really? Oh and if this is the future why the hell are they driving cars and not jet cars or for that matter just friggin teleporting? You want to waste your money go ahead. If you are trying to get laid then by all means go see this sure fire crapfest.

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