Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2013

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve is a time for looking back on the moments which made the previous year great or challenging, etc, and the promise of a new year being better and more fulfilling than the last. New Year's Eve will make you regret watching this dull and vapid piece of crap, no matter when you saw it during the year.




From Gary Marshall, the man behind Pretty Woman and A League of Their Own, this already forgotten star-studded turkey from 2011 follows the same formula from 2010's Valentine's Day: a series of vignettes which either serve as comedic set pieces, or dramatic ones, depending on the script. Some characters are looking for love. Some are looking for second chances. Some of these stories connect and collide with one another. Some are just purely stand alones. Here are just a few of the stories from this film: Hillary Swank plays the VP of the Times Square Alliance, a group dedicated to the planning of the big ball drop in the heart of NYC's big event. She's …

American Hustle

A film about corruption and searing social commentary about what we'll do to chase the American dream? Made by the guy who made of the best anti-war pictures of the last several years (Three Kings) and one of the best sports dramas since Miracle (The Fighter)? And it combines Christian Bale & Amy Adams from The Fighter and Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence from Silver Linings Playbook? This has to be a sure-fire Oscar heavyweight! Man, director and co-writer David O'Russell is swinging for the fences here! He's going to make this next period piece his Goodfellas, and hell, if you're going to draw inspiration from any crime drama, that's the way to go! I'm going to see this tonight!







2+ hours later.........






Well, two out of three ain't bad.



American Hustle is a good movie. A damn good one. O'Russell nails the period of the 70's perfectly. The lavish clothes, the attitude that this gravy train of decadence will never end, the electric mix of 70…

On Dynasties, Ignorance, and Moving Foreward To the Future.

In the beginning, I wanted Mr. Brown Verses to be a blog about movies, and that's it. Given how there's much more going on, like film analysis and how it relates to issues both here in America and beyond our borders; the annual predictions on the Academy Awards race; the state of the film industry; issues of ethnicity and gender roles in the business; the continued rise of fandom with both sexes; etc - it would be foolish to not talk about it and just sticking with reviewing movies. Most of this has been hesitance on my end because I personally feel that I'm not as well-versed in the film medium to really speak on trends and whatnot. There are other, more eloquent critics and readers of the Award-season tea leaves that express these concepts so damn well, it's almost amazing they haven't been picked up by publishers like Entertainment Weekly or Rolling Stone or The New York Times, but I guess the idea that they stand apart makes their work more fearless, more rich…

The Top 10 Worst Movies of 2013 - Part II (#'s 5-1)

Here we go, boys and girls: the top 5 worst movies I've seen this year. These are the films which drove me crazy; the ones that pissed me off, left me feeling bitter, and/or flat pissed me off.





5. The Lone Ranger - The biggest flop of the summer shares the honor of worst blockbuster of 2013. The Lone Ranger's dilemma is that the filmmakers couldn't decide whether this was an action comedy, or a gritty, dark take on the television series and as a result it ends up being neither compelling or exciting to watch. Note to Disney: just because you brought together the same people who were behind the mega-successful Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise (Gore Verbenski directing, Jerry Bruckheimer producing, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio writing and Johnny Depp starring), that doesn't mean you can try and essentially make the same damn movie again and expect the same result as the last series of movies you've been working on!






4. The Hangover Part III - You remember the firs…

Mr. Brown and The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is now the shortest of the Middle-Earth series by a whopping 161 minutes (or 2 hours and 41 minutes). Yet, Peter Jackson's second entry into his prequel trilogy feels like a 3-hour opus, filled with rousing action sequences and stunning production value (it's really amazing the filmmakers could still find uncharted places within New Zealand to shoot these films). Cinematography, Art Direction, Costumes Design, Visual Effects, Sound Editing and the score, once again composed and conducted by the great Howard Shore - the look and feel of this film rivals Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire for Hollywood decadence at their best. Like James Cameron, Jackson is that rare director who knows what to do with a massive budget, and not a cent is wasted in the final product. They all serve at the altar of Jackson's untamed imagination and he does let it fly (the barrel waterfall sequence alone will get applau…

The Top 10 Worst Films of 2013 - Part I (#'s 10-6)

The old saying goes, "If you want to know where you're going, look back to where you've been." That saying easily sums up 2013, in a nutshell. If you had told me that the end of this movie year would see some of the boldest, most impressive works, ranging from the collapse of the American Dream, to our country's shameful past of putting black slaves into bondage, to sublime stories featuring one person gazing into oblivion and fighting like hell to survive, I wouldn't have believed you, because there was so much crap and mediocrity that we had to sift through. Hell, even summer movies couldn't escape the crippling disease of the Suck this year; that's how dire it was looking. Thankfully, good movies returned just in time for the final five months of the year, but that doesn't mean I can forgive, nor forget, all the shit I personally had to endure at the multiplex. So, if you'll indulge me, I would like to take this time and give a solid kick i…

Mr. Brown and The Girl on Fire!

Last year, The Hunger Games came very close to cracking my Top 10 Best Films list, but missed the cut despite a star-making (and in my opinion, Oscar-worthy) performance from it's leading star, Jennifer Lawrence, who would later on win the Best Actress trophy in David O' Russel's Silver Linings Playbook, a terrific supporting cast, and sharp social commentary on reality TV and the inequality between the wealthy and the poor. The reason behind this was director Gary Ross, and the misuse of shaky cam, especially in the first hour of the film. I get that Ross wanted to shoot the film in a gritty, verite-style, but that format just doesn't work for when you're introducing the characters and the world they're inhabiting, and it became a distraction as the film went on.

This time, with its sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, I can easily say the following: this is not only the best Hollywood blockbuster flick I've seen all year, it's also one of the year…

Mr. Brown Verses The Best Man Holiday

Let me say this right now: I love seeing movies with predominately African-American casts. There aren't enough movies out there which center on the black community and our struggles. I wish more studios took a chance on making more films based around black families because it can make bank at the box office (See: Lee Daniels' The Butler).

Having said that, The Best Man Holiday is one of the year's worst movies, and of all the films that will end up on my list (which is coming next month), this one is probably the hardest for me to put on there. I honestly wanted to like this movie, but this sequel to the 1999 hit, The Best Man had everything that drives me insane about comedy-dramas: poor screenwriting, characters making implausible and dumb decisions because the plot demands it, cliché after tired, predictable cliché, and the religious themes that contain all the subtly of a brick to the face. It's not the anti-comedy that is the contemptible and vile Movie 43; nor …

Mr. Brown Verses The God of Thunder

Phase II of the Marvel Cinematic Universe began where the first phase started: with Tony Stark and his advanced suit of armor, this time battling the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 earlier this summer. I thought it was a great kickoff to begin the next slate of films that will, inevitably, bring them back together for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is due out in 2015. However, a major question arises for the studio: Outside of Robert Downey Jr. playing Iron Man and Joss Whedon's bringing together all these superheroes from the same shared movie universe, how well can Marvel Studios do without relying on either, financially?

The answer is, apparently, pretty solid. The sequel to 2011's Thor, featuring Chris Hermswoth as the Prince of Asgard, has already grossed $337 million worldwide and will eventually top it's predecessor's final tally of $447 million by the end of November. Sure, Thor: The Dark World didn't break the Box Office records like Iron Man 3 did with it'…

Trailer Reviews: Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac

I've seen hundreds of movie trailers before. I've seen funny trailers for movies. I've seen trailers that scream Oscar-bait. I've seen trailers containing crude and grotesque violence that I can't help but under who would be interested in watching the equivalent of a snuff film.

I haven't seen anything like the trailer to Nymphomaniac.

If you're familiar with the project, chances are that you've either heard from sites like The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline that the film will depict scenes of hardcore graphic sex and sex acts, or follow the career of Danish auteur/provocateur Lars von Trier. Before reading the stories of what von Trier id doing for his latest drama, I've actually seen some of his work, mainly the two movies from his "Depression" trilogy: Anti-Christ, and Melancholia. I'll go into both those film in later reviews, but judging from what I've seen, and from reading the reviews from his other works on Rotten Tomatoes…

Mr. Brown Verses Ender's Game

Before I begin this review, let me state that this review is purely about the merits of the film, and not about what I think about it's author, Orson Scott Card. Yes, I paid money to see the big-screen adaptation of his influential sci-fi novel and like I said earlier, if you end up boycotting the film because you feel that you'd be giving money to an unrepentant homophobe, that's your decision and I don't begrudge you from doing what you feel is morally right in your mind.

Ender's Game looks fantastic. The visual effects are quite impressive as we are immersed in this futuristic world where Earth is on the verge of another attack from an alien race known as the Formics which, but unsuccessfully, tied to colonize the planet in 2086. Fearing that the Formics will try to make another advance, Col. Graff (Harrison Ford) and Maj. Gwen Anderson recruit Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield of 2011's Hugo), a bright cadet in the military space program. He is taken to Battle S…

Romeo & Juliet (2013): The Massacre of an Iconic Love Story

A few weeks back, a heinous crime was committed at the AMC Fashion Valley 18. At 4:20 pacific time, a small audience, myself included, witnessed the brutal slaughter of a beloved literary author and playwright and his most famous work. The victim's name was William Shakespeare and the work was Romeo & Juliet, the world-famous romantic drama about a pair of star-crossed lovers from feuding families who fall in love and vow to be together, but violent and disastrous events threaten to destroy both the lovebirds, but both families as well. The culprits are director Carlo Carlei and Oscar-winning screenwriter Julian Fellows (Godsford Park), and Relativity Media, the independent film studio that released this piece of crap.

Where do I even begin with this one!?

Let's start with comparing lines from the original text, to the dialogue in the film adaptation. Take Romeo as he engages with his cousin, Benvolio, in a conversation about how lovesick the poor bastard is (Act I, Scene …

The Netflix Files (The Halloween Edition): The Human Centipede

In honor of Halloween, I'm doing a special edition of The Netflix Files, in which I finally review one of the more shocking and controversial horror movies out there, The Human Centipede,
in 2004, director James Wan released Saw, a horror flick about a sadistic murderer known as Jigsaw, who kidnaps two people and forces them to to escape the bathroom they're trapped in, or else they both die. The film, which was made for just over $1 million, gained a cult following among horror buffs and grossed $100 million worldwide. Some critics praised the film for it's inventiveness and having it's killer using extreme methods to teach people a lesson (much like in the 1995 thrillerSeven, a  film which Wan said he and the screenwriter was a huge inspiration for making Saw), while others said it was too gimmicky for it's own good. Wan's debut horror movie also paved the way for a new breed of horror film: the torture porn subgenre. From Eli Roth's Hostel in 2005, to th…

Another one!?!

In 2009, the low-budget supernatural horror film Paranormal Activity burst onto the scene. Made for an astonishing $15,000.00, the movie chronicled the story of a young couple, Katie and Micah, who are experiencing strange happenings around their new home in Carlsbad. They set up a video camera in their bedroom and around their home to capture whatever is causing these disturbances. Katie sleepwalks over to a sleeping Micah. The sound of footsteps fill the silence as they sleep. A slow rumble grows louder and louder each passing night. Each setup builds and builds as the audience grows anxious and more spooked with each nighttime diary becomes more and more terrifying until we a brought to the climax and writer/director Oren Peli plays his final hand for maximum effect when the audience can sense that the big scare is coming and we are gripping our armchairs (or dates) out of anticipation and dread. That's why the first film worked so well: Peli wisely doesn't go for the jugul…

Mr. Brown Verses Machete Kills

I don't know how else to say this, but I'm just going to say it: Robert Rodriguez is a madman.

For the most part, I mean this in a good way. Before, I pegged him as a second-rate Quentin Tarantino wannabe, but after watching him and Rodriguez collaborate on 2007's Grindhouse, I realized that both filmmakers have not only collaborated in the past, but are close friends and found each other in the same year: 1992. I knew about Tarantino and his contributions to the rise of independent cinema with his shocking debut, Reservoir Dogs, but what I didn't know was that Rodriguez also made his mark on the rise of the indies with the first of what would be come the Mexico trilogy (Desperado, the second installment would come three years later in '95, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico in 2003) with El Mariachi, a film that was shot for $7,000.00, mostly through help from the filmmaker's friends. I mean, who else could bear the burden of being a one-man crew, almost literally…

F&^@ing Wanker

Quick story: while I was watching Oblivion earlier this year, I committed the big no-no in watching a movie: texting while the film is going on. I hardly ever do it, and my friends on Twitter called me out on it, and rightfully so. It's rude and inconsiderate to the audience. I hate it when people yap on and on in a theater, and it's only common courtesy that you respect the people around you and make a text or use your phone outside. None of us like people or things disrupting out movie-watching experience, but most of us aren't going to be complete wankers about the situation.

Enter Jeffrey Wells, a blogger/entertainment columnist for Hollywood Elsewhere.com, who wrote about his experience while attending a screening for the film Gravity, and how it was ruined for him because of a child who was mentally handicapped. 
A few nights ago some “mentally-challenged” guy ruined (or came close to ruining) a screening of Gravity for the parents of a guy I know. It happened during …