Daredevil (2003)

I don't plan on re-watching Elektra anytime soon.

I don’t plan on re-watching Elektra anytime soon.

Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson (well, this is his best movie, sad as that may be)

Written by: Johnson wrote the screenplay based on the Marvel Comics character of Daredevil

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Colin Farrell, Jon Favreau, Joe Pantoliano, David Keith and Leland Orser

What it’s about: a man struck with blindness as a result of a childhood accident finds his other senses are greatly heightened and uses those abilities to fight crime as both a super-hero and a lawyer

What I liked: To be clear, this was the Director’s Cut that I watched.  It’s a bit longer and in some cases it actually makes the film better.  Most of the action scenes are decent, as well as the special effects.  The costuming of the characters was a fairly decent translation from the comic books, as well.  I liked Affleck’s performance, as well as Colin Farrell’s enormously intense scenery chewing as Bullseye.  It’s also a fairly dark comic book movie, and I think it was actually ahead of its time.  If this movie were made today, it would be of a higher quality with more attention paid to the darkness of the character, as modern audiences are more accepting of those themes than they were 10 years ago.

What I disliked: At times it feels like a comic book, and that’s not a great thing when it comes to the execution of the story.  Pointless scenes featuring action hero poses, and lighting choices that make no sense when you take into account the fact that the character is goddamn blind.  Some scenes are positively goofy.  There was also the sense that – much like Batman & Robin – the story was trying to cram in as much Daredevil history as possible which just led to it being somewhat scatterbrained.  If you’re doing a proper Daredevil movie series, you don’t introduce Elektra until at least the second movie.  Also, the music choices for the movie just reeked of attempted cross-marketing, featuring two flash-in-the-pan Evanescence songs.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Sort of.  It is a decent enough comic book movie, but unlike the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy, it doesn’t transcend the genre.  All that being said, it is still a guilty pleasure of mine.

Rating: 3 / 5

See?  Goofy.

See? Goofy.

Finding Nemo (2003)

Ha ha, "Sea" it in theatres.  That is wonderful.

Ha ha, “Sea” it in theatres. That is wonderful.

Directed by: Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich (Stanton directed the amazing WALL•E and Unkrich co-directed a couple other Pixar flicks, and solo directed Toy Story 3)

Written by: Stanton, Bob Peterson and David Reynolds based on a story by Stanton

Starring: the vocal talents of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, John Ratzenberger, Willem Dafoe, Allison Janney, Brad Garrett, Stephen Root, Austin Pendleton, Vicki Lewis, Elizabeth Perkins, Barry Humphries and Eric Bana.

What it’s about: the animated tale of a clownfish looking for his lost son, Nemo

B-Movie Alternate Title: LOST in the Ocean!

Movie Mash Up: Taken – all the violence + Toy Story or alternatively just The Pixar Formula

What I liked: I loved everything about this movie.  All of the vocal performances were top notch, the writing great, the visuals absolutely stunning (especially on Blu-Ray), and the story heartwarming.  Another in a long line of Pixar movies that get me all misty-eyed.  It’s a wild adventure that is grounded by it simply being about a father looking for his son.  I like that the fish – hell all the sea life – weren’t anthropomorphized like the terrible imitators, like A Shark Tale.  These are real fish (I mean, no, they aren’t real fish) acting like they should, not living in apartments and taking elevators for NO GOOD REASON.

What I disliked: There are some minor quibbles I have with some of the lines in the script, but nothing enough to dull my overwhelming enjoyment of the movie.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Yes.  I will never be a parent, so I can only imagine that this is how real parents would act if one of their children had gotten themselves lost.  It would also be fun for the kids.

Rating: 5 / 5

AUGH Kill it with fire!

AUGH Kill it with fire!

Bad Santa (2003)

Thurman Merman.  Thurman fucking Merman.  Jesus Christ.

Here’s another older review of mine for one of my favourite movies of all time.  I’m not talking just Christmas movies here.  I could watch this movie any day of the year.  I originally gave it a 4, and while it isn’t a perfect movie, it has grown on me greatly.  Strangely enough, this was the first time I watched the Director’s Cut, and I have to say that I like the Badder Santa Unrated Version better.

I’ll say this for Terry Zwigoff, the director of Bad Santa: you can’t make two more different films than this one and Ghost World. This one doesn’t pull any damn punches. If you’re a lover of Christmas, stay the hell away from this one. There are no sacred cows un-victimized in Bad Santa.

Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) is a department store Santa Claus. Except he’s the worst fucking Santa I’ve ever seen. Coming to work reeking of booze, smoking, swearing in front of the children. His elf helper, Marcus (Tony Cox), is exasperated pretty much all the time. See Marcus needs Willie to be as nondescript as possible, because every Christmas they loot the joint where Willie played Santa on Christmas Eve. They’ve been doing this for quite some time, and every year Willie gets worse and worse. He can still get the job done, it’s just all the baggage he brings to the gig.

John Ritter – in his last role – plays the store manager, Bob Chipeska, who is looking for any reason he can find to get rid of Willie. Bob’s head of security, Gin (Bernie Mac), is looking into the situation very carefully. There’s also a weird, weird fat boy (Brett Kelly) that does his best to befriend Willie, despite all the cussing and drunken carousing Willie does.  Then there’s my favourite, Sue (Lauren Graham acting as far from a “Gilmore Girl” as imaginable), who is a Santa-groupie basically. She’s dirrrrty when it comes to Santas, oh my yes. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, if you’re wearing a Santa suit, she’ll give ya some.

Willie is probably one of the most unsympathetic characters ever conceived on celluloid. It’s a testament to Thornton’s acting ability and inherent charm that you actually do give a damn about what’s going to happen to him. Or it’s funny watching a person self-destruct in such a spectacular fashion.

Like I said, it doesn’t pull any damn punches, with most of Thornton’s swearing and verbal abuse taking place right in front of children. I haven’t seen the regular version of Bad Santa, because I’ll always take the unrated version of a movie over its more than likely, tamer counterpart. It’s a pretty fucking funny movie, good for any time of the year, except Christmas.

Top notch funny here folks. Thornton’s awesome in a different way than you could ever imagine. Tony Cox is excellent as his helper elf, pushed to the limit by Thornton’s self-destructive sensibilities. MMmmm Lauren Graham, if there are truly Santa groupies out there, I might have to switch careers for a month or so during the year.

5 / 5

Classic Santa

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Okay, before July, I had never seen a Fast & Furious movie.  I might have seen a combined 2 minutes of commercial footage, but I never intended on ever ever watching them.  Then The Rock was in Fast Five, which I knew I’d eventually see.  Of course, this was around the time that I was still employed by that asshole company Blockbuster.  Now, even though I was laid off by them, I knew I was still going to want to see F5 (or however the cool kids are abbreviating it) because I’m still a wrestling nerd, and aside from The Scorpion King, I don’t think there’s a Rock movie I’ve not seen.  But I didn’t want to go into F5 (not the Brock Lesnar move nor the EVIL TWISTER OF DEATH) not knowing what was going on, or why chicks still dig Vin Diesel.  So – since I was told the Fast & Furious movies weren’t terrible – I decided to watch all of them.

Now, I was actually surprised that I didn’t hate The Fast and the Furious, but sequels are usually not as good, and 2F2F (I feel dirty typing that) certainly lived up to that reputation.  It wasn’t horrible though, just so you know.  This was a movie I watched a couple weeks ago, so no snarky commentary on it, just today’s Movie A Day.

2 / 5

This is probably not going to be the format for most of the blog, just movies that are sitting in the queue, waiting to be counted for the Movie A Day project.  From now on, I’m intending on  writing running commentaries (MSTK style or serious, depending on how a movie is grabbing me) for movies I’m watching.  In theory.

Wanna learn more about this movie? 2 Fast 2 Furious at the Wiki or at IMDb