March 2011 Mini Reviews

Hall Pass: 2 out of 5
The Farrelly Brothers are really starting to annoy me, but at least this was better than their previous disaster “The Heart Break Kid.” This film had a lot of jokes here but most of them really fell flat. When they weren’t dick or shit jokes they were ones that I’ve basically heard before. Oh and then they tried to have some emotion in the film that didn’t work either.

Drive Angry 3D: High 3 out of 5
This movie was just plain over the top fun. Taking a page out of the Grindhouse book, this movie tries to just use sex and action to entertain, and it works. The movie’s plot isn’t strong and the actors chew a lot of scenery but it’s just all part of the fun. The one who really steals the whole show though is William Fitcher who is the Devil’s right hand man, he was fantastic here. One of those movies to grab a couple of cold ones before going to see it.

Take Me Home Tonight: 1 out of 5
A film where I didn’t laugh once, nor did the audience I was with. Remember Hot Tub Time Machine? One of the things I really dug about that film was how it took us back to the 80s and basically parodied some of the things from that decade. This didn’t do that, it was just an average film that could be present day. There is nothing special. Topher Grace is lame and Dan Fogler, who Hollywood seems to be wanting to shove down our throats was just doing his schtick as the fat crazy guy. It wasn’t even a good party movie, I would rather see Can’t Hardly Wait, which is practically a better version of this. Oh and they didn’t even use the song the movie was titled after.

Rango: 3 out of 5
A spaghetti western in the form of an animated film with reptiles as the main characters, Rango was a pretty solid film. Johnny Depp was enjoyable in one of his only voice acting gigs, and the character Rango had some good witty moments. At the same time though, the story was predictable and I felt it dragged a bit going into the third act.

Red Riding Hood: 1 out of 5
Yeah, this movie was just as stupid as the trailers made it out to be. The movie didn’t exactly follow the original story, since that would have only taken up 30 minutes, so instead they just basically did a medieval “Twilight,” and I’m not saying that just to pick on that franchise. The male characters literally walked around with their shirts half open and hair that could only be possible with gel, something that didn’t exist at the time.

There were parts that they actually tried to connect the movie to the original story though and these parts were hilarious at how bad they were. Gary Oldman overacted like never before in this one. There was even one scene where it sounded like they were playing an ancient version of a Lady GaGa song.

Battle: Los Angeles: 3 out of 5
I have to admit that I really dug this movie quite a bit. Yeah we’ve seen the whole ‘aliens come down and we have to fight them’ story done before but I really liked how this one had a lot of fighting with ground pounders and not just air force fighting back. The filming seemed to be pretty gritty and I thought it helped to intensify the movie and really got me into the action. The acting by most of the people in the film wasn’t that great however I thought that Aaron Eckhart did do a really good job carrying the film with what he was given.

Cedar Rapids: High 3 out of 5
A lower budget indie film, Cedar Rapids turned out to be really enjoyable. It of course has a cast of recent comedy stars like John C. Reilly and Ed Helms that really were good here. I wouldn’t say it’s completely fall out of your seat laughing however the characters where just so extremely likable that it just really kept the movie going.

Mars Needs Moms: 2 out of 5
I felt that this movie had just to many problems to be really enjoyable, so let’s get started. The story was lame, after the kid gets to Mars to save his mom, it’s the same three things over and over. Try to go to where his mom is being held, get caught and get sent down to a garbage yard, go back up and try it again, that was basically it. Then there was the protagonist who was just annoying and really got on my nerves.

There was also Dan Fogler, who played the same character he always plays and was also annoying. Then of course we have the animation done by Robert Zemeckis who keeps animating films with characters that take the appearance of the actor playing them. This just doesn’t look natural and is really off putting to me. The one thing I actually liked about the movie were some of the settings that looked pretty nice.

Limitless: 3 out of 5
I liked this one to an extent, however I felt it was just sort of random at places. And the ending to me just seemed to wrap up a little too nicely. The movie was suspenseful at parts and I liked seeing how Cooper’s character was going to get out of sticky situations, however the story is told through one of those begin at the end and then go back to the beginning and tell it from there, making us know that he is going to be okay. An interesting film, but it didn’t really seem to have a point and the main character never really had an arc.

Paul: High 3 out of 5
A pretty funny comedy starring two of my favorite comedic actors at the moment. Paul has a lot of good ‘geek’ humor that is inserted here and there. I didn’t find this one to be as funny as Pegg and Frost’s previous films, not even close to Hot Fuzz, however I still found it enjoyable.

The Lincoln Lawyer: High 4 out of 5
So far one my favorite films of the year so far and the best legal thriller I’ve seen in a while. At first the film just seems to be another average court room drama but it really evolves and becomes about the main character played by Matthew McConaughey.

McConaughey absolutely shines here and I think it’s probably the best he’s ever done so far. It was very interesting seeing how much trouble he got in through out the story and even more so trying to figure out how he would get out of it. And as an added bonus, the soundtrack was awesome.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: 2 out of 5
Well at least this film was better than the first one, but that’s not exactly saying that much. The film was a little improved but it still seems to take place in this world where everybody is an asshole, probably more so than the Karate Kid world, and the adults are all stupid. The characters were improved a little bit though and it was just a tiny bit more bearable then before.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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