Movie Review: The Ugly Truth

the-ugly-truth

 

Released: 7/24/2009

Hollywood ran out of ideas a long time ago.  It is why I always rate original ideas higher than non-original ideas.  The Ugly Truth is another retread storyline.  This time it is Cyrano de Bergerac.

Abby (Katherine Heigl) is the producer of a struggling morning show.  To boost ratings, the station manager hires a “shock jock” from a public access channel – Mike (Gerard Butler).  Mike speaks his mind about men, women, and relationships.  Much of what he says is true (hence The Ugly Truth) it’s just shocking to hear out loud.  Abby is convinced that Mike is wrong, so Abby bets Mike that she won’t get the “perfect man” by following Mike’s advice.  He tells her what to say and do to land her neighbor, who hits every mark on her checklist (thus my comparison to Cyrano de Bergerac).  Hilarity ensues.

The Ugly Truth was a bit crude at times, but more or less an amusing tale that’s been told before.  There were some laugh out loud moments.  Mike’s comments, while shocking, are not overly offensive.  I hope I don’t spoil anything by telling you that Mike and Abby fall in love by the end of the film.  One glossed over element – Abby is Mike’s boss and their budding romantic relationship would seem to violate every HR policy of every company.

The Ugly Truth isn’t an original tale, but I had some laughs.  If you don’t like Katherine Heigl, you probably won’t like it, but otherwise it is fine, just nothing terrible exciting.

 

WWYT Rating: 6.5

IMDB Rating: 6.5

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Movie Review: Escape from New York

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Released: 7/10/1981

You have to love movies that are set in the future, but are now so old that the “future” is already several years in the past.  Escape from New York is set in 1997, where the crime rate has risen so dramatically that they had to turn Manhattan Island into a prison.  Kurt Russell is a bad ass criminal; you can tell he is a bad ass by his eye patch.

Terrorists hijack Air Force One and crash the plane into the now-prison Manhattan Island.  The president jettisons out on an escape pod, but is trapped within the prison.  The prison guards, located outside the prison, enlist the help of a former military, but recently convicted bank robber, to rescue the president.  To ensure that he accomplish this task in 24 hours, they implant tiny little bombs in his carotid arteries, which will blow up if he doesn’t return with the president.

It is a plot that has been duplicated many times, never very successfully.  As a result, Escape from New York feels dated, even though this was probably one of the first times this plot was used.  For an action movie, it moved rather slow with nearly an hour elapsing before any sort of action actually transpired.  My rented disc, of course, froze for five minutes at this point – I didn’t really care, but I was slightly confused for the rest of the movie.

There wasn’t a lot of action (or at least interesting action), especially for an “action” movie.  There was very little character development, even for an action movie.  In the end, it had all the drawbacks of a typical action movie, without any of the benefits.  Escape from New York was probably once a good movie that just didn’t stand the test of time.

 

WWYT Rating 5.5

IMDB Rating 7.2

Hallmark Movie Review: Hearts of Spring

HeartsOfSpringPoster

Aired: 4/9/16 on Hallmark Channel

Lisa Whelchel, better known as “Blair” from Facts of Life, stars in Hearts of Spring.  In fact, she is only known as Blair, but that is what happens when you don’t play another role for 30+ years.

In Hearts of Spring, Blair plays a flower shop owner who also blogs about parenting – and frankly it is bad parenting advice (so much worse than bad reviews).  She basically advises parents to let kids do whatever they want (under the guise of “listening to them.”)  Michael Shanks (I miss Stargate) is a pediatrician who has to deal with the obnoxious brats that her advice churns out.  Shanks starts writing nasty comments on Blair’s blog.  When Blair and Shanks meet in real life the attraction is instant, but unbeknownst to them they are each other’s online rivals.  This gives the movie a Shop Around the Corner vibe (except reversed).

As it turns out, both of their parenting styles are wrong.  Shanks is too strict and Blair is too loosey-goosey, but together, you guessed it – they will make a great team!  Or that is what is heavily implied by Hallmark.  There is nothing exceptional about Hearts of Spring, it is just like all the others.

Rating: 6.01

Ranking: 38

  1. In My Dreams

39t. A Novel Romance

39t. Accidentally in Love

39t. Looking for Mr. Right

39t. Perfect on Paper

Movie Review: Zootopia

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Released: 3/4/16

Zootopia is as much a fable as a movie. Probably the most fable-y movie I have ever seen.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, just be aware of this when you go see Zootopia.

Zootopia is a giant city that now-civilized animals have built.  Judy Hopps is a bunny from the country with a dream to become the first rabbit cop in Zootopia.  She graduates first in her class and joins the police force, only to become a glorified meter-maid – until a missing otter case comes her way.  Judy forces her way onto the case with her connections in the mayor’s office.  With the help of Nick Wilde, a grifter fox, she discovers that there is a whole lot more to the case than originally thought.  Tied to the disappearance of 14 animals, they find that the animals haven’t disappeared, but “gone savage.”

Zootopia didn’t have any real gut-busting laughs, but there were nearly consistent chuckles throughout.  All the characters were likable.  Trying to figure out which famous actors gave them voice will tickle your brain and drive you nuts until the credits roll.

I mentioned that Zootopia is a fable.  So what was the moral that we were supposed to learn?  Stereotypes are bad.  They pounded this point home with nearly every character and in every scene.  Bunnies are cute and can’t be cops.  Foxes are sly and cunning.  Predators are vicious animals that should be caged for protection.  It felt like getting hit over the head with it.  But since this is largely a children’s movie and I’ve always said that “kids is stupid,” they probably need to be beaten over the head with the lesson.  The movie isn’t just for kids, though, there was one reference to Breaking Bad, and there were probably other references – I just missed them.

Zootopia is a funny movie fable for everyone.  Just wear a helmet so you don’t get hurt with the forced lessons.

 

WWYT Rating:8.2

IMDB Rating: 8.4

Hallmark Movie Review: All Yours

AllYours

Aired: 4/2/16 on Hallmark Channel

When I sat down to review this movie, I couldn’t remember the name of the movie.  Maybe it’s because All Yours is so generic a title and it has nothing to do with the movie, though perhaps it is apt since the movie is so generic.

Cass McKay (Nicollette Sheridan) is a widow (Hallmark – home of the jilted fiancé and the dead husband) and a lawyer.  Her kids are little hellions that force out nanny after nanny.  Vincent is a journeyman – he graduated from Stanford Law, and sailed around the world.  Vincent’s father is building a complex at the local marina, one that would cost jobs (not sure how this would cost jobs and not create them, but that is the story).  Vincent and his father come to an agreement.  If he sticks around and nannies the Cass children then the marina project will get cancelled.  I don’t know why you would give up a multi-million-dollar project for someone else’s kids, but it’s Hallmark.

Perhaps the most offensive part of this movie (other than the absurd plot) was Cass’s reaction to the “manny,” stating that she doesn’t want a man to take care of her kids.  Seriously?  What do you think a father does?  Cass also reacts poorly to finding out that Vincent took the job as an agreement (they called it a bet, though it didn’t feel like a bet) with his father.  She flips out and fires him.  Why?  Who cares why he took the job.  Your kids like them, wouldn’t that be enough?

Other than being offensive, having a silly plot, and an impossible to remember name, All Yours is just fine.

WWYT Rating: 5.59

Ranking: 60

57t. A Wish Come True

57t. Lucky in Love

57t. So You Said Yes

  1. For Better or For Worse

Movie Review: Wrath of the Titans

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Released: 3/30/12

Wrath of the Titans, sequel to Clash of the Titans, got some bad reviews.  While I can sort of see why, I didn’t think it was that bad.  I am a sucker for anything Greek mythology-related, so that may influence my opinion toward the positive.  Wrath of the Titans is an action-adventure movie with an actual plot, which is more than I can say for many action-adventure movies (doesn’t stop me from enjoying those occasionally though).

Wrath of Titans returns to Perseus, son of Zeus, at a time when the gods are no longer in favor – temples have crumbled, no one prays to them anymore.  And, now, I’ll say good-bye to readers who don’t know Greek mythology, because there are about to be a lot of names coming up.  If you don’t know the Greek gods, the next couple sentences will be very confusing.  Ares, jealous of Zeus’ love for Perseus, and Hades jealous of Zeus period, conspire to betray Zeus and release Kronos.  Zeus is captured and bound and drained of his power to release Kronos.  Poseidon escapes the trap to warn Perseus that Zeus has been captured.  So Perseus sets out to save his father, and walla [sic] an actual plot.

My favorite part was when Kronos is being released – a volcano erupts with fire demons.  The army standing against them launches fireballs against the demons – literally trying to fight fire with fire.   I’m not sure what they expected fireballs to do against something that came out of a volcano – cool them off maybe?

Is Wrath of Titans a great movie?  Ha! No.  It is a passable movie, but it isn’t nearly as bad as the critics say.  If you like Greek mythology and action-adventure, then it is a fine movie to pass the time.  If you don’t like either, stay far, far away from this movie, you will hate it.

 

WWYT Rating: 6.9

IMDB Rating 5.8

TV Review: Fuller House

fuller house

Airs: Netflix

Review: Pilot

Whatever happened to predictability?  Indeed, Fuller House, you are living up to your title song with your predictability.  I had 30 minutes to kill and nothing else to watch, so I watched the first episode of Fuller House.    I survived, and that is the extent of good things to say about it.

The first 15 minutes were so forced it was physically painful to watch.  The actors forced their old catch phrases into a script that was clearly relying on Full House – old jokes that sort of worked 30 years ago.  The next 15 minutes were an improvement, with a semi-coherent storyline to set up the new series rather than just reuniting old characters.  But the storyline is exactly the same as the original –DJ Tanner is a widow who needs help taking care of her three kids so her sister and best friend move into the (original) house to help her.

Full House was never a great show, but it was cute and tolerable.  Fuller House is neither.  The jokes are stale and ill-placed, and a copy-cat storyline — there is no point in watching this.  If you must, just watch the original.

WWYT Rating: 2.1