Archive for June, 2012
Growing up just outside of Boston John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) didn’t have many friends. And, on one particular Christmas day eve, when the conditions were just right to make a little boy’s wish come true, young John made a wish, a wish that his teddy bear could be his best friend. With that wish, and a little magic John awoke the next morning to discover his bear, Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), was in fact alive and able to talk. Best buddies forever, the two swore they would never part– even when initial fame of Ted’s miracle existence hit and wore off, the two managed to stay together. Now a grown man at the age of 35, John is looking to keep the love of his life, Lori (Mila Kunis). But, between his own self destructive behaviour and Ted’s influence, John is walking a delicate line. Can he pull himself together to save his relationship, and what about Ted, and what about the creepy Teddy bear-napper, Donny (Giovanni Ribisi)? Written and Directed by pop culture comedic skewer Seth MacFarlane, fans of Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show are in for a treat. The comedy comes fast, cheap, and easy (insert your own “mom” joke here) and doesn’t let up till the bitter end. Still, dancing on a razor’s edge, perhaps some humor, despite it’s satirical nature or otherwise might be a little much for some easy targets and minorities; getting past that, there’s still a lot of charm in a four mouthed bear with an attitude played straight to a fault. Also of note, unlike MacFarlane’s television work, Ted’s storytelling seems to plow through mercilessly and on target instead of the usual asides many fans are accustomed to. I laughed, was entertained by a bear, and am not ashamed to admit it. Worth your comedic dollar, Ted is rated R.
Mike (Channing Tatum) is an entrepreneur of several wildly divergent businesses, with a skill set ranging from roofer to auto detailer to custom furniture crafter to male stripper. You could say life in Tampa Florida hasn’t exactly turned out quite the way he’d hoped or wanted. With an ounce of pity for Adam (Alex Pettyfer), an out of work college dropout, Mike opens the door to the hardcore party lifestyle, women, stripping, and drugs. Meanwhile Adam’s sister, Brooke (Cody Horn), isn’t exactly sitting by the sidelines, but attempting to care for her little brother might be too much. And, with the pressure of club owner Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) mounting for all, eventually something’s got to give. Finding center, love, and purpose becomes Mike’s new goal, but is it too late, and what of Adam’s fate? Now, I know what you’re thinking, Chippendales/Male Strippers? C Tate? Can my eyeballs possibly witness this without the rest of my body somehow engaging in a full on gag reflex? Short answer, yes, and without totally giving up your man card either. The material could have very easily turned hokey or hard to digest, instead, Director Steven Soderbergh coaxes honest performances from what might otherwise be a laughable story. Mind you, there are quite a few honest laughs, and awkward moments, but somehow it all seems to add up to provide for characters you’re really rooting for. Acting all round feels on point, and with a mild reservation on the film’s final act, the film is seaworthy and stout. And, once again, hat’s off to Tatum, somehow miraculously he manages to pull on the yoke every time I think he’s about to crash and burn…well played sir, well played. Magic Mike is rated R for obvious reasons.
American history is reframed and re-told as Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) leads a double life during pivotal times for our nation. As slavery is challenged, a battle for human souls is also at play as vampires have infiltrated every sector of American life. Unbeknownst to the general public, Lincoln is a trained vampire hunter taught by his mysterious associate Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper). With Henry’s assistance Lincoln takes strides in ridding vampires from America, all the while searching for the vampire who killed his mother years earlier. But, as age sets in, Lincoln’s contingency plan of a life in politics takes hold. Now, years later, a nation at war with itself, Lincoln finds the battle between North and South hinges on his ability to slay the leader of the vampires, Adam (Rufus Sewell), and his cadre of blood sucking minions. But how to pull off this seemingly impossible feat, and what will be the ramifications? Okay, so we can’t really take this seriously can we? No, of course not. Instead, knowing that you’re about to be subjected to a pulpy retelling of history, sometimes tongue in cheek, we can almost just let the suspension of disbelief ride. That being said, assuming that you’re willing to “just go with it,” for the entertainment factor, you could do worse. To a certain degree Walker actually seems to portray Lincoln visually the way we have come to expect him to look. Anthony Mackie, Jimmi Simpson, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead stay within their supporting roles, and anytime you can get Alan Tudyk to dress up as a vampire, well…you just can’t go wrong now can you? Fight sequences actually had me tensing up on a few occasions, but large action often relied on half baked CGI a little too much for my tastes. Still, it’s Saturday summertime matinee popcorn chomping fun. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is rated R.