Tag Archives: I Love You Phillip Morris

Weekend Film Recommendation: I Love You Phillip Morris

19 Aug
I know I’ve talked about this film from time to time on this blog, but it is a new arrival to Netflix and if you haven’t seen it yet, now is the time.  I Love You Phillip Morris is the story of Steven Russell, a happily married man and a member of his local police.  When an accident forces him to reevaluate his life, Steven becomes openly homosexual and decides to live his life without regard for other peoples’ opinion and, more importantly, the law.  Once his extravagant lifestyle of conning and fraud catches up with him, he lands in prison where he meets Phillip Morris.  After falling in love with Phillip, he devotes himself to freeing Phillip from jail and pulling off a series of ridiculous and impossible cons so they can live the perfect life together.

I Love You Phillip Morris marked the return of Jim Carrey to the style of R rated humor that hadn’t been seen since Me, Myself, and Irene (though not as hammy), a refreshing change of pace from the comedies he chose for the nine years in between. 

This is exactly how we felt too Mr. Carrey

The story is excellently written and well paced, and really keeps the watcher engaged in the two characters and their relationship throughout the movie.  The subject matter is a little grotesque at times, but the aforementioned delivery of Jim Carrey throughout really softens the shock.  There is a lot of social commentary within the movie (did I mention it takes place in Texas), but it is not so in your face that it feels like sermon rather than an entertaining comedy.  The performance of Ewan McGregor as the titular Phillip Morris is worth noting as well.  While he plays more of the straight man in this comedy (no pun intended), it really works to humanize the two individual’s relationship and solidify the chemistry of the two leads.

Click here to add I Love You Phillip Morris to your Netflix queue.

New to Blu-Ray/DVD this week (April 5, 2011)

6 Apr

Tron: Legacy

Rated: PG

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Synopsis from IMDB:  The son of a virtual world designer goes looking for his father and ends up inside the digital world that his father designed. He meets his father’s creation turned bad and a unique ally who was born inside the digital domain of The Grid.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take:  The first Tron was groundbreaking for its use of computer animation and special effects, and Tron: Legacy tried to live up to the legacy (no pun intended) that its parent film established.  Though the plot appears to be a little thin, and many have coined the film nothing more than a 2 hour Daft Punk video, this movie looks visually stunning.  Definitely worth the viewing for that alone (and Olivia Wilde), pick this one up on Blu-Ray if you can.

Add Tron: Legacy to your Netflix Queue.

Little Fockers

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Ben Stiller, Teri Polo and Robert De Niro

Director: Paul Weitz

Synopsis from IMDB: Family-patriarch Jack Byrnes wants to appoint a successor. Does his son-in-law, the “male nurse”, Greg Focker have what it takes?

Trailer:

Pac’s Take:  Robert DeNiro is one of my favorite actors ever to grace the screen, but I will still avoid this movie like the plague; even when TBS gives it its own weekend.  It is a heartbreaking thing to think that anyone (present or future) whose movie repertoire doesn’t go further back than this millennium won’t have any concept of DeNiro’s true potential.  Little Fockers is a completely unnecessary sequel banking on the stars of the previous films (and newcomer Jessica Alba) to draw in an audience.  If you’re in the mood for some DeNiro, pick up Taxi Driver on Blu-Ray (also releasing this week).

Add Little Fockers to your Netflix Queue.

Casino Jack

Rated: R

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Barry Pepper and Jon Lovitz

Director: George Hickenlooper

Synopsis from IMDB: A hot shot Washington DC lobbyist and his protégé go down hard as their schemes to peddle influence lead to corruption and murder.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take:  It sure doesn’t take long for Hollywood to make a movie about you these days.  Casino Jack is the “true” story of Washington D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff.  The black comedy opened in theaters to a limited release and delivered a paltry box office gross as well as poor critical acclaim (35% on Rotten Tomatoes).  However, Kevin Spacey was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in this film, so that alone may be worth a watch.

Add Casino Jack to your Netflix Queue.

I Love You Phillip Morris

Rated: R

Starring: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor and Leslie Mann

Directors: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

Synopsis from IMDB:  Incarcerated at the state penitentiary, con artist Steven Russell (Carrey) meets the love of his life: Phillip Morris (McGregor). As a free man, his passion results in a series of improbable cons to bust Phillip from jail and build the perfect life together.

Trailer:

Pac’s Take:  Surely to be overshadowed by the release of Tron: Legacy,  I Love You Phillip Morris is probably the best film to be released to home video this week.  Maturing is a difficult transition for many raunchy comedians to go through and their option for more family oriented comedy as opposed to smart comedy often leaves audiences relishing their younger days.  Though Jim Carrey has had some of those same struggles, he delivers here with a standout role as Steven Russell.  Coupled by Ewan McGregor as the titular character, Phillip Morris, and these two provide great chemistry and a ton of laughs.  (70% on Rotten Tomatoes)

Add I Love You, Phillip Morris to your Netflix Queue.

Pac’s Best/Worst Films of 2010

5 Jan

Yesterday Chris posted his best and worst films of 2010, I decided to give you a day to mull it over, argue amongst friends, leave comments, and/or whatever it is you do.  Today I give you my list of the ten best and ten worst movies of 2010.  Keep in mind, as with Chris’s lists, that these are only the films that I have seen.  We are just fans like you and have to seek out our own means of viewing these films so it was impossible to see every film we would have liked to in 2010 (as well as those we’re forced to or stumble into).  As a bonus though, I’ve included the ten films I wish I would have seen in 2010 both because some of my films overlap Chris’s and I wanted to add something more and because I don’t want anyone saying “how could you have put (blank) over (blank)?” when I didn’t see (blank).

I want to end on a high note so here are my 10 least favorite films from the past year:

10. Let Me In

Right off the bat I’m going with a film that might make most people discredit the rest of my list, it was included in Chris’s 10 best films and it got great reviews, and there are definitely other films I could have put here instead (see honorable mentions) .  Let Me In was saved by great performances from wonderful young actors (and the always enjoyable Richard Jenkins) but the over-the-top cinematography and slow pace ruined any chance of me enjoying this film.  The film was shot way too tight and I spent more time deciphering what I was seeing on-screen and not enough time immersing myself in the film.  I’m a believer that you need to see a film twice to truly gauge its quality (which I haven’t done yet) but for now it remains on my ten least favorite.

9. Alice In Wonderland

Most all Hollywood couples part ways, so why too can’t the “bromances” between actor and director?  Maybe it is time for Tim Burton to move on from Johnny Depp the same way Scorcese moved on from DeNiro to DiCaprio.  I wasn’t able to see this film in 3D (which I heard was disappointing anyway), but none the less the film boasted some great visuals – and nothing else.  Burton’s story of Alice returning to Wonderland lacked substance and character and attempted to disguise it with the awe of visual appeal.  I wasn’t even able to finish this film (meaning it comes in #9 despite me not seeing the infamous dance sequence), and that almost never happens.

8. Leap Year

It is no secret that I am not a fan of the romantic comedy genre (as evidenced here), but I am always willing to give the newest one a shot given the appropriate company.  While most RomComs have ridiculous premises and over-the-top love stories, Leap Year attempted to top them all with its ridiculous premise about a girl who travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Year only to fall in love along the way.  Amy Adams needs to take cues from actresses like Charlize Theron, you have way too much talent to be wasting it on Romantic Comedies.  If I have to see this film once every four years, it’d be too often.

7. Valentine’s Day

When a movie tries to bank off the success of another film in any other method other than a direct sequel (and many times even that doesn’t work), it is almost destined for failure.  Valentine’s Day clearly tried to use the formula of He’s Just Not That Into You, and take it one step further by including a holiday premise sure to draw in couples to the theater.  Unfortunately, they overlooked the one thing about HJNTIY that actually made it an enjoyable film to watch, a good story.  Valentine’s Day just grabbed as many billable actors as possible, cut them their check and let them check out as they filmed this abomination because they knew the names would be enough to turn a profit.  Hopefully when next years sequel, New Year’s Eve comes to theaters we’ll be a little bit wiser (probably not).

6. My Soul to Take

If Chris gives me credit for convincing him to see The Social Network, then I must too take blame for dragging him to this.  While he and most others would rank this higher on their list of least favorite films of 2010, I saw brief glimpses of what makes Wes Craven the premiere name in the horror genre.  The film lacked so many things including: acceptable performances from its young actors, cohesiveness in the story, and any sort of suspense.  However, after some analysis I determined that it wasn’t the story that was lacking but the execution.  Don’t let me forget that this was the worst 3D that I have seen in any film to date.  Maybe this Wes Craven film will be remade in 20 years like all his others, and this one could actually be improved upon.

5. The Killer Inside Me

I first saw the trailer for this film and immediately thought this was going to be the film that makes Casey Affleck a star.  With two very billable leading ladies (Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson) by his side, the director of a Mighty Heart at the reins, and a compelling story based off a well received book, I had such high hopes for this film.  What I got upon viewing was a shock value film disguised as noir with incredibly slow pacing.  Affleck turns out a good performance in this character piece, as does Kate Hudson but they still couldn’t save this film for me.  However, after spending two hours begging for this film to end I was rewarded with a pretty bad-ass ending, or maybe I was just relieved it was over.

4. Salt

I wasn’t expecting much from this film and didn’t see it til recently, so I can’t say that I was disappointed by it.  Still, Salt was easily the worst of a group of espionage films that were released this year.  Competing with the likes of Knight and Day, Killers, and The Tourist, and trying to live up to the quality of the Bourne series, Salt fell short in almost every aspect.  The performances were weak, the story was boring, the reveal was predictable, and the action was cliché.  Angelina Jolie is quickly becoming an actress whose films I try to avoid; and when Tom Cruise backs out for Knight and Day and is replaced by Liv Shreiber, you’re doomed.

Who Cares?

3. Twilight: Eclipse

The only thing that kept this film from landing any higher was that it did at least feature some pretty cool fight sequences as well as the beautiful Eva Green and Anna Kendrick.  Unfortunately, the rest of the film was littered with unbearable performances from its three main stars, a romance that has become so contrite by the third film that I can’t understand how even tweens can bear it anymore, and unneccessary chest bearing for swooning 12 year olds.  It is disappointing that this saga will be remembered in pop-culture as one of the most popular franchises of our generation, hopefully after the fourth installment reaches theaters the vampire craze will subside.

2. Sex and the City 2

I subject my girlfriend to a lot of bad action and horror movies so I only find it fair that sometimes I suck it up and watch a movie like Twilight: Eclipse and Sex and the City 2.  While Twilight: Eclipse at least boasted a cool fight scene, two very attractive supporting actresses, and some resemblance of a plot; Sex and the City 2 had nothing of the sort.  I strongly considered making this the #1 film on this list but decided against it because I hated the next film just a little bit more.  Take four over the hill women who were only mildly attractive in their prime, send them to the middle east to do absolutely nothing, add some obligatory male nudity, and what you get is this garbage.  Screw you HBO, where is my Sopranos movie?

1. The Last Airbender

What can I say about this film that hasn’t already been expressed in numerous blogs, reviews, and hate mail sent to M. Night Shyamalan?  This movie was terrible and I really don’t have anything else to say about it, I didn’t finish it and I have no interest in watching it all the way through because I genuinely don’t care what happens, hell I don’t even know what was happening during the first 2 acts that I did see.  It is a shame that Shyamalan’s name has been drug through the mud so badly after the release of this film because it caused so many people to dismiss Devil, a decent suspense/horror flick.

Honorable Mentions:  The Wolfman, The Losers, R.E.D., Jonah Hex

 

 Here are my favorite films from 2010:

10. The Ghost Writer

Let me hand it to my favorite website and one of the greatest resources on the web for movie news, reviews, and opinions for influencing me to see this movie.  It if it weren’t for a weekend film recommendation on this very site, I may never have seen The Ghost Writer, but I’m sure glad I listen to those guys at Chris Petersen’s Film Blog, they sure are smart.  A political crime thriller from across the pond, The Ghost Writer boasts superior performances from Ewan MacGregor and Pierce Brosnan, a stellar plot that unravels at just the right pace, and one hell of an ending.  You can call Roman Polanski a lot of things, and one of them should be an outstanding director.

9. Kick Ass

Not many films these days can feature Nicolas Cage and still make my top ten, but Kick Ass was able to do just that.  Blending just the right amount of superhero fantasy with the harsh reality of life, this film was a very smart, fun romp through the world of superhero fanboys.  What took this film to the next level though was the excellent cast supported by the aforementioned Cage, Chloe Moretz, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.  But it was the bold decision to cast the little-known Aaron Johnson as Kick Ass that made this movie great.  Could you imagine how much it would have sucked if they went with, oh say…

This Guy

 8.  Unthinkable

Seriously, read this blog every day, these guys know what they are talking about.  Okay, so it was actually me who wrote the weekend film recommendation for Unthinkable this time, but I did it for a reason.  This film gets a bad rap by some because of its controversial subject matter and torture scene, but make no mistake – this is not torture porn.  Everything shown on-screen is deliberate and important to the purpose of the film, the movie is not supposed to gross you out but rather to make you think, and to question your own morality and the morality of the world we live in.  This film is heavy, and it features Samuel L. Jackson in his best performance from at least the past 5 years as well as Michael Sheen in an Oscar worthy performance.  (This film is available instantly on Netflix for those of you interested).

7. The Town

I’ve put my grievances with the ending to rest and have accepted this film for what it is, a very good heist flick.  Ben Affleck continues to show that he knows how to handle a camera and Jeremy Renner is quickly proving to be one of Hollywood’s heavyweights and they both shine in their respective roles in this film.  Some of their talent even rubbed off on the beautiful Blake Lively who did take a cue from Charlize Theron and disguised her beauty to play Affleck’s drugged out ex-girlfriend.  I wish I could have liked this film more than I did but despite its greatness amongst this years class of film, it doesn’t compare to the greats like Heat, Dog Day Afternoon, and Inside Man.

6. Inception

It was very difficult for me not to rank this film higher on my list but when it came down to it, I wasn’t influenced by all the peer pressure and the media touting this movie as the greatest piece of art ever to grace my eyes.  I do however, give this film all the respect it deserves for a great cast (including a breakout performance by Joseph Gordon Levitt), a great story, incredible special effects and cinematography, and a cliff hanger that will live in cinema infamy.  I truly hope this film will do what many speculate it is capable of and bring some big budget originality back to hollywood in the coming years.  Christopher Nolan truly is a master of his craft and one of three directors (including Martin Scorcese and the director of the #2 movie on my list) whose name alone earns the price of admission from my pockets.

5. The Other Guys

Many posts ago, Chris wrote a post compiling a list of movies that he didn’t like until his second viewing, and earlier in this post I wrote that I believe a movie needs to be seen twice to truly gauge its value.  The Other Guys is the poster child for that theory because when I walked out of the theater after seeing this film I actually disliked it.  A second viewing on DVD changed my mind and this film jumped into my top ten about as effortlessly as Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson jumped off that building.  This movie is hilarious from start to finish, mainly because of its satirical premise and its two leading men: Mark Whalberg and Will Ferrell.  The replay value of this movie is very high (I think I’ve seen it 5x now) and its quotability is just as great, it’s the funniest movie to come out this year and I can’t wait to see Whalberg in more comedic roles.

4. I Love You Phillip Morris

When buzz about this movie started making its way around the internet I thought it was a comedy about cigarettes, much like Thank You for Smoking. I didn’t think much of it past the title til I saw the first trailer and laughed a few times, then saw it after having my wisdom teeth pulled ( I was in need of a good laugh ).  This movie was hilarious from start to finish and was (IMO) the best performance of Jim Carrey’s career, even Ewan MacGregor was great in his supporting role as the titular Phillip Morris.  There seems to be some stigma around this movie for its homosexual content; but the film doesn’t exploit the point that the two men are gay, it simply uses it to supplement to outrageous humor.  I would best describe this movie as a gay Catch Me if You Can.

3. Black Swan

If it weren’t for the first act of this film and its camera work I probably would have ranked this movie higher on my list, but if I’m going to chastise Let Me In for its cinematography I have to hold Black Swan accountable as well.  Despite my issue with the way the beginning of the film was shot, this film delivered on many levels, often in ways that Let Me In could not.  The plot that drove the story was incredibly paced with just enough suspense to keep me attentive without driving me as insane as Nina (Natalie Portman) and I sympathised with each of the characters especially Nina and her mother (Barbara Hershey).  The performances by Hershey, Portman, Cassell, Ryder, and even Kunis were top-notch.  Lastly the climax of the film left me both pondering what I just saw as well as begging for more.  Portman deserves an Academy Award for this performance and she has catapulted herself into superstardom (see her upcoming filmography for 2011, she’s busy).

2.  The Social Network

Like I Love You Phillip Morris there was a stigma surrounding The Social Network that watered down some of the anticipation and respect that this film deserved.  However, that stigma was quickly submerged by critical acclaim and box office success after it was released in theaters.  The Social Network is so much more than “The Facebook Movie”, its a courtroom thriller that doesn’t take place in a courtroom, and it’s a character piece on the now infamous creator of one of the most popular websites in the world.  The performances by young stars such as Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and Armie Hammer (who kind of plays both Winklevoss twins) carry this film and it is only supplemented by David Fincher’s outstanding direction and cinematography.  If I had a vote for Best Picture as part of the Academy, I’d vote for this film.

1. Megamind

While I’ve already established that I think The Social Network deserves the Academy Award for best picture, I don’t think it deserves to top my list of favorite movies from 2010.  We go to the movies for many reasons, but the primary reason I go to the theater is be entertained, and Megamind was the most entertaining movie of the year for me – BY FAR.  It may have been a perfect storm that cast this film into the pole position on this list but I loved every second of it.  The movie had a great story (so what if it was mildly similar to Despicable Me), a fun cast with great chemistry (especially between Ferrell and Cross), excellent cinematography (especially for an animated film), and the best 3D that I have seen in any film to date.  So far twice in this post I have written that I believe you need to see a movie a second time to truly gauge its value, well I’ve seen Megamind once and I may purposefully never see it again.  Seeing this movie in 3D in theaters was such an enjoyable experience that I fear subsequent viewings may only diminish the perception I have of this film.  I hope to someday have the capability of recreating the theatrical experience that was Megamind (anyone wanna buy me a 3D TV? and Bose stereo system?).

Honorable Mention: The Crazies, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Easy A

As a small token of my gratitude for reading through this very long post (even if you skimmed it) and making it this far, here is my top ten movies I wish I had seen in 2010, most of which are new or limited releases:

10. Paper Man
9. Winter’s Bone
8. Monsters
7. Toy Story 3
6. Tron: Legacy
5. 127 Hours
4. The King’s Speech
3. True Grit
2. The Fighter
1. Buried

Opening This Week (Nov 29 – Dec 5, 2010)

29 Nov

After a week long of stuffing my face full of delectable food and trying to drown out the incessant racket of the excessive playing of “Frost the Snowman” and “Jingle Bells”, I have returned to bring you the weekly movie report. I am going to avoid the long intro and just roll right into it:

Warrior’s Way

Rated: R

Starring: Dong-gun Jang, Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, Danny Huston

Director: Sngmoo Lee

Synopsis from IMDB:  A warrior-assassin is forced to hide in a small town in the American Badlands after refusing a mission.

Trailer:

Chris’ Take: Ninjas falling from the sky!!! A story that will make absolutely no sense!!! Ninjas jumping up from the ground!!! Look shiny-flashy sword!!! You probably noticed three out of four of those statements, which is what the trailer was intending. While this will be an incredibly visual film, the plot will probably be too dumb to ignore and not be worth trudging through to see all the great visuals that you already saw in the previews.

I Love You, Phillip Morris

Rated: R

Starring: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann

Director: Glen Ficarra, John Requa

Synopsis from IMDB: Steven Russell is happily married to Debbie, and a member of the local police force when a car accident provokes a dramatic reassessment of his life. Steven becomes open about his homosexuality and decides to live life to the fullest – even if it means breaking the law. Steven’s new, extravagant lifestyle involves cons and fraud and, eventually, a stay in the State Penitentiary where he meets sensitive, soft-spoken Phillip Morris. His devotion to freeing Phillip from jail and building the perfect life together prompts Steven to attempt and often succeed at one impossible con after another.

Trailer:

Chris’ Take: After being shelved for a while, this film finally comes to light and it doesn’t look as funny as it was touted to be. I am trying to avoid using some puns here to describe the humor. Anyway, it looks to be mildly entertaining and very topical.

Black Swan

Rated: R

Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Vincent Cassel

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Synopsis from IMDB: A thriller that zeros in on the relationship between a veteran ballet dancer and a rival.

Trailer:

Chris’ Take: Darren Aronofsky delves into the rarely used psychological ballet thriller with his latest endeavor. At the beginning of the fall season I said that this film was one of my five most anticipated films of the season and from the early reviews, it looks like it won’t disappoint. With Aronofsky it will no doubt be simultaneously visceral and beautiful (Natalie Portman will also contribute to the latter of those two attributes) and will feature the return of an actress that I couldn’t care less about since she tried to ruin Hoosiers, Barbara Hershey. From the looks of it, this film will garner a lot of buzz for Oscar season.

LIMITED RELEASES

All Good Things

Rated: R

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella, Phillip Baker Hall

Director: Andrew Jarecki

Synopsis from IMDB: All Good Things is a love story and murder mystery based on the most notorious unsolved murder case in New York history. The original screenplay uses newly discovered facts, court records and speculation as the foundation for an imaginative spellbinding story of family, obsession, love and loss.

Trailer:

Chris’ Take: The trailer for this film looks solid and I like both Gosling and Langella, but the early reviews have been mixed. Rottentomatoes has it at 17% with only 6 reviews in, but IMDB has it with an average rating of 7.1 out of 10. So, I don’t know if I can say that this will be worth a look yet. I think I will probably add this to my Netflix queue early next year when it will be out on DVD.

Applaus

Rated: R

Starring: Paprika Steen, Michael Falch

Director: Martin Zandvliet

Synopsis from IMDB: When the critically acclaimed, tough and coming of age actress Thea Barfoed ends her rehab, she confronts a hard choice. During her heavy drinking period she divorced and lost custody of her two boys. Now she wants them to be a part of her life again. Christian, her ex husband is quickly softened by her tough manipulative but charming figure and agrees. She has to prove to her self and to him, that she is worth the try. But the hard life on stage, and the ghosts of the past slowly comes knocking on her door. Thea is forced to face her inner voices. She is bound to give in to her faith, and make the choice.

Trailer:

Chris’ Take: Looks to be a simple, but powerful look at the consequences that stem from personal mistakes and accepting responsibility. While this will probably be hard to find at a theater, this looks like it could be a very interesting film.