Tag Archives: fine acting

The Parole Officer: A Coogan-y Film

I must admit I was excited to see Steve Coogan’s face on the cover of this movie on my Netflix. 2001 is a bit iffy for comedies for me (I’m a 200 and late… -r), but this one did the job for the most part. Steve Coogan wasn’t at top form (a bit of a problem) but I got through it all the same. The first scene was promising, but you can only be so outrageous before nobody watches your movies…

The story of The Parole Officer is a pretty straightforward one. Steve Coogan plays Simon Garden, and awkward and sad probation worker (confusing movie title, I

All too true…

know…). He is being transferred to another city (Manchester, I believe) and he’s going to be attempting to correct those sorry crooks that litter the streets of England. What he stumbles upon is something a bit more intense. A fellow officer in crime prevention, Inspector Burton (Stephen Dillane), commits a murder that is caught on security camera. Holding the evidence in his possession, Burton the crooked cop is planning on framing Garden if he tattles. Not wanting this being held over his head, Garden employs the help of the only four former criminals he corrected in robbing a bank with the tape inside. Oh, the comedic irony.

The most awkward place for Coogan? Strip club.

It’s pretty cut and dry from there. The movie has some of Coogan’s own brand of awkward comedy, but not enough to make it a signature film of his. (I’d say Hamlet 2 is more his style.) You get an awkward sense of Alan Partridge, but it comes up short of expectations. The acting is fine and the movie is dated, which always makes it a bit hard for me to watch. But overall, think Johnny English with dry comedy instead of slapstick. You got this film right there.

There are a couple of great little parts other than the versus mode of Coogan/Dillane. There’s Ben Miller as Colin, one of Garden’s former clients. Being Rowan Atkinson’s sidekick in Johnny English, it was a nice change to see him delivering comedy more than being the straight actor taking it all in. There’s Lena Headey as a watered down version of the strong British actress she will one day become in things like 300 and Game of Thrones. Not the most adequate of cops, it

Team of crack cons, assemble!

always gets weird whenever Coogan lays his puffy lips on a love interest in a movie. And then there’s a non-speaking cameo from Simon Pegg in the art gallery scene. I had no idea what to expect there. But worth a laugh.

The bank heist is a little above my understanding with some strange technology lingo and complicated means of infiltration, leaving part of the movie as bland. The back and forth between the cons was fine, although overall it lacked a certain star quality for me that would’ve

Aha! I’m Simon Garden.

sent the jokes home better. It really was an all eyes on Coogan film for me. Throw in some slapstick/situational comedy towards the end (and a break-in scene reminiscent of The Dark Knight) and you have yourself a throwback to the 1950’s heist movies. Not a bad roll into one.

Not one of my favorites, but not the worst Coogan attached film I’ve seen. I still feel like one of my only friends who actually recognized/knew Coogan in Tropic Thunder, something that saddens me to this very day. But it’s not about notoriety or popularity. There are those of us out there who salute Steve Coogan for his amazing contribution to the world of comedy. He deserves a ranking up there with Ricky Gervais, Matt Lucas/David Walliams, and even Monty Python. Can’t get enough of those Brits. For this, I give The Parole Officer a 6.8 out of 10.

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The Lost Boys: Classic.

I’m a huge fan of the Coreys and vampire movies. So why wouldn’t I watch The Lost Boys for kicks? This amazingly 80’s film explores every young boys fantasy of being the next Van Helsing, and lookin’ classy with quaffed hair. The featheryness makes me laugh to no end, and there’s even a classic saxophone player with spandex and a mullet. What could be better about the original Lost Boys?

In reference to Peter Pan’s own Lost Boys, this movie highlights a few adorable 80’s

Some 80’s flair.

hearthrobs entering into their later teen years (or around those parts). Throw in a bit of fantasy horror and you got yourself a cult classic. But you wouldn’t expect anything less from Batman Forever and Batman & Robin creator, Joel Schumacher. I’ve seen The Lost Boys: The Tribe, and let me tell you, Joel Schumacher was needed on the set of that one. It didn’t have a tenth of the flair this one did.

Catch me in Speed 2!

Michael (Jason Patric, star of failed sequel, Speed 2: Cruise Control, but still a very hunky 80’s dude) is moving with his single mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) and younger brother Sam (Corey Haim, classic.) to a fictional town in California based on Santa Cruz, where it was filmed. Moving in with their farty and cantankerous old fool of a grandpa (Barnard Hughes), they find the night life of the boardwalk to be too enticing. There are some other characters who find the boardwalk just as… delicious.

David (Kiefer Sutherland) is the leader of a gang of vampires who patrol the boardwalk, looking for recruits and meals alike. Drawing in Michael with the use of a female counterpart named Star (Jami Gertz), Michael is tricked into drinking vampire blood and participating in their 80’s hoodlum outings. Sam recruits the help of the Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison

Classy Edward Hermann.

Newlander) in order to classically fend off and kill a whole den of the bloodsuckers of the night.

This movie is just too classic to even consider talking smack about. It’s a cult classic, it’s renowned for its classic scenes and 80’s cast of the who’s who of actors. It has both the Coreys. What more do you want? All you need is Corey Haim and the Feldog, don’t you?

Can I talk a little more about the Coreys? I think this clip from Robot Chicken can sum up my adoration for the Lost Boys.

You see what I mean? Nothing could be better. Lost Boys Style.

A bit bug-eyed, eh?

This movie sticks to the classic ideas about vampires and all that jazz. Stakes, garlic (not really though), sunlight (but it only bothers them if they’re being transformed), batlike appearance at times, sucking blood, invite into the house, etc. But it’s more about the 80’s. There is a man, Tim Cappello, who plays the saxophone in this movie so provocatively and strangley that it stands out. You know why?

 

 

 

That’s why. Sexy Sax Man Sergio Flores. The best. Tim Cappello in this movie inspired this prank video. Far reaching, right?

What more is there to talk about? The acting is fine, and the cast, well, it’s phenomenal. Dianne Wiest of my favorite Hallmark Channel original, The Tenth Kingdom? She was a frightening Queen Witch in that shizz. The Coreys, enough said (Goonies, Stand By Me, etc. etc.) Jami Gertz from Still Standing the TV show? Keifer Sutherland, the badass of 24 making

Bill the Biker.

Lost Boys Style!

one of his first films other than Stand By Me? That’s a wonderful little beginning right there. Alex Winter, the infamous Bill of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey? He’s even in with The Red Hot Chili Peppers (i.e. directed a music video!). And classic Edward Hermann providing the voice of documentaries and TV specials for years. Standout cast right there.

So just watch this. You know you want to. Anytime you feel down, this movie will pick you right up, just like any good 80’s movie does. No question, 10 out of 10. Gotta love the Feldman’s deep and froggy voice in this one. Superb.

 

 


Queen of the Damned

Now I’m gonna take the leap here and suggest (as it probably has been, being a film out for 10 years now) that Anne Rice didn’t understand where this film was coming from or going. A little later, I’ll explain why. But it is sad for me to see that Rotten Tomatoes (or any other reviewer) thought that this film was so poor. I have reasons for liking it, but there’s truly really only one. But plot first.

In a modern day world with the rise of Nu Metal in the early 2000’s, Lestat the Vampire (Stuart Townsend) rises to a new sound he had never heard before. A sound that rises him from the grave. Upon encountering the goth band making all the racket, Lestat

Townsend as Lestat. Anyone see Dorian Gray?

reveals himself to be a centuries old vampire comes to make all their wishes come true. Now he just broke the unspoken agreement all vampires tailor themselves to. Don’t talk about being a vampire, or that vampires exist. But he is doing this for a reason.

To break the monotony. His silken and brooding voice (sung by none other than Jonathan Davis of Korn) charms all the goths in the entire world, a la Deathklok from Adult Swim. Pronouncing proudly that he is a vampire, Lestat hopes that other vampires will come out of hiding, even if it is only to get him. He has the world on a string, and he’s shaking it to find out where they’re hiding.

The beautifully frightening Aaliyah.

Meanwhile, at the London paranormal research building, Talamasca…

Jesse Reeves (Marguerite Moreau) is a young researcher, looking into whether or not Lestat is actually a vampire. Analyzing his lyrics, she feels she’s stumbled onto something real. With a colleague of hers confirming that it’s true, David Talbot (Paul McGann, you Dr. Who fans out there may know him as the 8th Doctor… personally, I don’t care.) hands her a diary of Lestat’s pasts and beginnings. When the two intertwine, a evil, ancient presence arises, leading to a new world order. Unless it can be stopped. I’m talking about Aaliyah as Akasha, the vampire Queen of Egypt. Word.

So you have your wondefully sexy and fierce R&B singer that I said I loved from Romeo Must Die. She takes on this role with as much grace before her tragic end (this film is dedicated to her). You have Stuart Townsend, the man who was almost destined to play Aragorn before Peter Jackson up and said he didn’t want him. You may ask, where have I seen Townsend before in a similar film? Look no further than the suave Dorian Gray in The League of Extraordinary

Some pimpin’ old vampires.

Gentlemen. Badass. He was a great addition to the film and really had the whole “Metal Sex God in Leather Pants” look going on. And Jonathan Davis backing him up on vocals. He’s Irish too, so you can’t hate. Marguerite Moreau was beautiful as ever in the film, giving Lestat a reason to fight for humans. And can I say again that Jonathan Davis makes a cameo in the film? Look out for him.

The Moreau factor.

And this is where I come to why I liked the film. Nu Metal. The early 2000’s framed my pathway into teenagery. That means I was frustrated and awkward. And what better music to listen to than Deftones, Static-X (my favorite bands), Disturbed, and the almighty Korn? Nothing in the world soothes my soul more than death metal. And you get all new hauntingly original songs from Korn? This movie is a package deal. It could’ve almost worked out as a rock opera. I’d be down.

And this is also the point where Anne Rice doesn’t get it. Goths/metal have forever been linked with vampires. It’s a fact now at this point. And a woman who was 58 at the time of this movie should’ve keeled over dead at the use of music in this film. New age music that’s not from my early years? Noooooooo! Understandable response. The movie is nothing she’s seen because it’s meant for the goth scene. The punk and metal scene. Because that strain of music has adopted the vampire image and feel. And, in that way, this movie works for me as a metal fan.

Jonathan Davis on his throne of Korns.

There are those out there who think that Korn is a hack band. They’re original, true, that can’t be denied. But, for some people, they’re washed up, or not hard enough for a lot of hardcore metal fans. They’re like Limp Biskit (I don’t even care to look up his name…) But that’s all wrong. And they hate old Limpy boy. Korn has been around since 1993. It is now 2012. They are infusing techno methods now, into their music. They were ahead of the curve when it came to electronic music back in the day, before all this started. They’re metal, they’re rap metal, they’re nu metal. They. Are. Korn. They can do whatever the shit they want. They are the original when it comes to everything. They are groovy and they are hard. And they hate the world. What could be better?

Now that you know my secret obsession with Korn, you know why this movie works for me. But it’s just my opinion. The acting was fine (I thought Stuart Townsend really stood out), and I pooped myself the second I heard him sing and I knew it was Jonathan Davis. It just

Can’t get enough of the sexy darkness.

clicked with me. It doesn’t have to with you. That’s why I specially recommend this to fans of Nu Metal and all things dark. For those of the 90’s and 2000’s who want to relive a bit of angst. And maybe suck some blood. 7.1 out of 10.


Ping Pong Playa

It’s all fun and games to playa hate on Ping Pong. But not to the Chinese. In a sport that originated in China (not in England, as white people claim, apparently…) Chinese people take the art of the Pong very seriously. (Balls of Fury can make fun of this one all they want. Yes, at times that movie was funny, but it is considered a sport.) But this movie

Yao Ming ballin’ it up at a Ping Pong table?

doesn’t take itself too seriously. Written by Jimmy Tsai the star of the film, combined with Jessica Yu’s directing and co-writing, comes a lighthearted and inspirational film that resets the Chinese at the top of the crop in table tennis.

At the start of the film we are introduced to C-dubs (Jimmy Tsai). He has amateur dreams of becoming an NBA basketball player, following in the famous footsteps of Yao Ming. In a mock interview with someone made to look like Ron Howard (Jonathan Oliver playing “Jon Howard), C-dubs attempts to shake the Asian stereotypes that are held over his head with his ghetto dialect, an effort in vain.

Everyone has 4th grader friends, right?

His parents, Mr. (Jim Lau) and Mrs. (Elizabeth Sung) Wang find him lazy and apathetic to the world of Ping Pong, despite owning and operating a Ping Pong equipment shop and Ping Pong lessons at the local community center. Spending all his days with his black friend, JP Money (Khary Payton) and his 4th grader friend Felix (Andrew Vo), C-dubs looks hopeless. Until the day that his older brother Michael (Roger Fan) gets into an accident with his mother, who is no longer able to host her Ping Pong lessons. It is up to C-dubs to hold down the fort and teach some Ping Pong.

As you can expect from an inspirational film like this, C-dubs is very resistant at first. He goes to the community center with no desire to

DESTROY THOSE FOOLS.

teach, despite having a talent from a young age. You know it’s getting in the way of his training for basketball, but there’s a little surprise with that… With the help of his elementary level school friends and the interest of a young and beautiful Chinese woman, Jennifer (Smith Cho). When rep is on the line, C-dubs picks it up and realizes he has been a mess his whole life. Time to step up to the paddles.

King Erotic, you’ve come back…

There are a few great appearances in this movie. Stephanie Weir from MadTV makes an appearance as the awkwardly racist Ping Pong judge. Shelley Malil from The 40 Year Old Virgin is also featured as the father of one of the awkward Indian kids who is to smart for his own good. And, what may be the best, is Khary Payton as C-dub’s black friend. Many may not recognize him, but his was King Erotic in the Troy/300 spoof, The Legend of Awesomest Maximus. Man was he latently homosexual in that movie…

The acting was fine and there were laughs and comedy throughout. Every time there is a swear word, a basketball bounce is played over it (making it funnier than if they had sworn). It’s a movie for teens that teaches a lesson about good

Asian fury.

sportsmanship, as well as race relations. Never judge a book by its cover (i.e. C-dubs and his bball dreams) and always have in the back of your mind that what you say may offend others. It has a nice message and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s semi-entertaining and may not be funny for everyone, but check it out. You might learn something. 6.4 out of 10.