Monday, April 16, 2007

Episode 28

The Man - Andy Fiddle (Eugene Levy) represents a dental supply company and is headed to New York City to give a speech about his products. Derrick Vann (Samuel L. Jackson) is the stereotypical loose cannon of the NYPD who is hell bent on avenging the death of his partner. The two of them have nothing in common, nor should they. However, when Vann sets up a fake arms deal to lure his former partner's killers out into the open, Andy ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time and the criminals mistake him for their buyer. Now, against his better judgement, Vann has to convince Andy to continue playing the role of a wealthy man in need of a large amount of illegal weapons when all he really wants to do is get to his conference and deliver his speech. Prepare for repetitive, idiotic jokes by the bowl-full when embarking upon the task of watching The Man. First there are the jokes centered around the low-life perp who hard-ass Sam Jackson constantly abuses for information. Then there are the jokes about how much Sam Jackson curses and how Eugene Levy's character feels that it's rude and unnecessary. And let's not forget the fart jokes. Oh yes, the fart jokes. As it turns out, Levy's character gets gas when he eats red meat and Sam Jackson forces him to eat a hamburger. I think you can guess where this is going. Other stereotypes primed to make you laugh if you hadn't seen them thirty times before include Jackson's obsession with his car which he drives into dangerous gunfights, but flips out over if he finds a single scratch on it. Also, how could an odd couple-style police comedy be complete without the comic relief being shot in the ass and bitching about it for the duration of the film? I can't imagine why Samuel L. Jackson would agree to do a film like this. He's in more movies than just about anyone I can think of, so I'm sure he didn't need the money, and I'd be hard pressed to believe that The Man was some sort of passion project for him. Eugene Levy essentially reprises his role as Jim's (Jason Biggs) father from the American Pie series as an awkward family man with strong moral values in a role that really could have been played by anybody. The plot (which is so cookie-cutter that it hurts) quickly takes a back seat to the stupid jokes in The Man, and I'd strongly suggest that you steer clear of it at all costs.

Catch Me If You Can - Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) was a normal high school student until his father (Christopher Walken) ran into trouble with the IRS and his mother (Nathalie Baye) filed for divorce. Confused, and with only twenty five dollars in his checking account, Frank ran away from home. For a time he lived off of his checks, but as they continued to bounce and get him into trouble, he realized that he needed to make a change in his life. That's when he decided to be a pilot. Not become a pilot, but be one nonetheless. Frank forged IDs, acquired a uniform, and by sheer cunning and a quick wit spent over a year forging fake checks from Pan Am Airlines and getting free flights to wherever he chose around the globe posing as a co-pilot. When he became tired of his newfound "profession", he used the same trickery to become a physician, and later an attorney, and no one was the wiser. No one except for the FBI. Ever since his first days of forging checks, Frank has been under the watchful eye of FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). With each passing month, Carl comes closer to catching Frank as the two of them form an unlikely bond that bridges on that of a father and son. I've wanted to see Catch Me If You Can since it first came out in theaters, and I wish that it hadn't taken me so long. Catch Me If You Can is one of those magical films like The Shawshank Redemption, Saving Private Ryan, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid that really puts you in the time, place, and state of mind that the story takes place in. It evokes a lot of emotions and tells an incredibly enjoyable tale. The mood and tone of the movie, as added by Stephen Spielberg's directing, is superb. Adding to the wonder of Catch Me If You Can is the fact that it is closely based on true events. When you hear that Frank Abagnale Jr. passed over four million dollars worth of bad checks, it's hard to believe that it really happened, but knowing that it actually did adds a little extra oomph to the events in the film. Of course, when looking at what makes a movie great, you can't overlook the performances therein. Leonardo DiCaprio proves once again that he is one of the actors who will replace the modern greats in coming years. Interesting, then, that he plays opposite Tom Hanks in Catch Me If You Can, which I believe to be one of the best roles of his long and noteworthy career. Christopher Walken puts in a beautiful dramatic performance that is a breath of fresh air among many of his roles of late which all seem to rely on his standing as a pop culture phenomenon who is meant only to make us laugh with his offbeat line deliveries. Really, the whole cast is spectacular. Catch Me If You Can is one of those movies that will hit you in the chest and stick with you. It doesn't rely on one genre or emotion, but plays them all against one another, creating an experience that I can't wait to have again and again upon future re-watchings of the film.

Ultraviolet - So it's the future, right? Not a post-apocalyptic future or even just a slightly advanced version of modern day, but one of those futures where everything's stream-lined and either shiny white, shiny black, or sterling silver. You know those futures? Yeah, those. Well in this future some scientists were trying to develop super soldiers, but they made a little miscalculation and ended up with vampires instead. Well, they call them "Hemophages", but that's probably just for the same reason that in most zombie movies no one calls zombies "zombies". Anyway, now the same people who created these vampires (I'm refusing to use the term Hemophage anymore) are trying to extinguish them. To do so, they've cooked up a little weapon that the vampires have decided to steal so that it can't be used against them. Enter: Violet (Milla Jovovich). Hey, the movie had to be called that for a reason, right? Violet is the super sexy, super-human super spy that the vampires have chosen to steal the weapon. After doing so, they discover that the weapon is actually a child called Six (Cameron Bright, who appears to be the new go-to guy for playing the standard young boy since everyone got sick of Hayley Joel Osment) whose blood contains the chemical weapon. Even though the child could mean the end of her kind, Violet's heart grew a few sizes that day and she decides to turn on her people to save Six's life. As it turns out, in order to do so Violet just has to beat the shit out of essentially everyone she lays eyes on. Roll credits. Well, if you haven't guessed by my extremely sarcastic review, I thought this movie was shit. I had a feeling it was going to be shit, but for some reason I feel compelled to watch pointless action movies like this. Don't ask me why. So for all the reasons that you could gather from the synopsis above, you probably shouldn't see this movie. However, for those who are interested in action and sci-fi, there are a few moments that could wake you from the coma that the "plot" and "acting" will certainly leave you in. One of which is a little device that Milla Jovovich possesses that alters her personal gravity so that with the twist of a knob she can walk on walls and ceilings. One of the few decent scenes in the movie was a chase scene which had Violet on a motorcycle using this device to ride along the sides of buildings while being chased by helicopters. The scene in question is horribly over-the-top, but entertaining nonetheless. So in closing, don't waste your time on this piece of garbage.

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