Established May 2010.

Gordie: Do you think I'm weird?
Chris: Definitely.
Gordie: No man, seriously. Am I weird?
Chris: Yeah, but so what? Everybody's weird.

Film Critic for Twin Cities Live

Member of THE LAMB: The Large Association of Movie Blogs LAMB #1588

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Movie Review: SCREAM 4

Part of this very exciting and fun-filled weekend included the 1:40 showing of Scream 4 on Saturday. I was so excited. One could compare it to a kid in a candy store. I bought our tickets in advance and picked out prime seats. FYI, you can choose your seats in advance if you go to the Showplace Icon Theatre in St.Louis Park. It's part of the West End Complex. Sure enough, the couple sitting next to me came in late AND the guy was on his cell phone the whole time. Texting away like he was bored. He was also talking to the movie screen as if Neve and Company was going to hear him. His girlfriend's cell phone even went off during the movie. I ALMOST yelled at them. Why do the talkers ALWAYS sit next to me. Annoying couple aside, I had a great time. Here's my review:

Director: Wes Craven
Screenwriter: Kevin Williamson
Starring: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox Arquette, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettierre, Rory Culkin

Scream 4 is finally here eleven years after Scream 3 was released. Ten years have passed since Sidney Prescott (Campbell), Gale Weathers (Cox), and Dewey Riley (Arquette) thought they had finally defeated Ghostface. Sidney has written a book "Out of Darkness" describing her ordeal, conquering her troubled past, and moving on. She returns to her hometown of Woodsboro (setting of the original Scream) as part of her book tour. Dewey and Gale are now married. Dewey has been promoted to sheriff of Woodsboro, and Gale has given up her career as a hard-hitting tabloid journalist. Sidney arrives back in Woodsboro on the anniversary of the original murders. Unfortunately, Ghostface is back as well to get revenge on Sidney. Ghostface will stop at nothing to get to Sidney. Everybody is a potential target to Ghostface including her cousin (Roberts) and aunt (Mary McDonnell).

Gale can't resist the urge to get back into her investigative roots to find Ghostface and kill him. She enlists the help of members of the cinema club at Woodsboro High (Culkin, Erik Knudsen) to help track down Ghostface. According to them, there are new rules to surviving a horror movie and tracking the path of the killer.

Kevin Williamson has written a wonderful script that brings back the humor, scares, and pop culture references that made the first one iconic. Between the writing, acting, setting, and score, it feels like a Scream movie. Campbell, Cox, and Arquette have aged their characters appropriately but still retain their characters core essence and personalities. I never once felt like I was watching them play them as their teenage characters or so old that they weren't the characters we all know and love.

I would love to go on and describe all of the reasons why I loved this movie, but I would end up divulging too much about the movie. If you know the other movies inside and out like I do, the more you will enjoy this one. The original Scream paved the way for a new generation of horror. It celebrated the horror movies of the past by commenting on them, spoofing it, and giving the viewers special nods to them throughout the movie. Scream 4 does the same. It comments on the generation of horror movies that came after Scream. A new decade of rules based on all of the sequels, remakes, reboots, and torture porn that followed. Scream 4 fits right at home with a decade old trilogy while feeling fresh and new. It's far better than most of the "horror" movies out these days.

Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Unleash Your Inner Foodie" Guest Blog: Movies for a Rainy Day at the Cabin

It's time for another guest blog for DeeAnn McArdle and "Unleash Your Inner Foodie". It's getting to be prime cabin season, and I have been itching to find a weekend to get up to my parents' cabin. We decided to do a blog based on what to watch when you're stuck indoors on a rainy day. Here's the link for the blog.

Read it Here


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Monday, April 4, 2011

Movie Reviews: Source Code, Hop, Cedar Rapids

The last time Ryan and I went to the movie theater was for the AMC Best Picture Showcase on February 26th. It seems odd that I didn't go anytime in March. Maybe I'm forgetting a movie. This weekend we managed to see three movies. I feel like Roger Ebert having to now reflect on what I saw and put it into words. We saw three very different movies. First up was Source Code with Jake Gyllenhaal on Saturday. Sunday brought animated Russell Brand in Hop and Cedar Rapids with The Office's Ed Helms.

Director: Duncan Jones (Moon)
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain, Donnie Darko), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air, The Departed)

Colter Stephens (Gyllenhaal) awakes suddenly on a Chicago train without recollection of how he got there. Christina Warren (Michelle Monohan) is sitting across from him, talking to him, and referring to him as Sean Fentress. As Colter enters the bathroom to collect himself, he sees that his reflection is not his own. He opens his wallet and finds the ID of Sean Fentress. After eight minutes, the train explodes and Colter gets sucked back into his pod. Colleen Goodwin (Farmiga) appears on a screen and explains that Colter is part of an experimental program to go back in time in the body of passenger Sean Fentress to catch the bomber. A second bomb is going to go off if Colter doesn't find the bomber in time. Each time Colter goes back in time to the train, he has eight minutes to figure out what happens and change the timeline of the events.

Source Code
is a mix of science fiction and action thriller. Duncan Jones creates a fast-paced ride as Colter tries to alter reality and the timeline of events. Movies that keep going back in time can get long and drawn out depending on how many times the main character is forced to go back. Fortunately for the viewer, Source Code does not bore the audience with unnecessary repeat occurences of the eight minutes. Jake Gyllenhaal gives another fully invested performance. He's had a string of mediocre movies lately, so it's nice to see him back to good work. The only fault I have with the movie is the ending. I think it could have ended in a different place than it's current ending. I'm not really giving anything away, but if you see it you'll know what I'm talking about.

Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)

Starring: James Marsden (The Notebook, X-Men trilogy), Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Arthur)

Hop is part animation and part live action. E.B. (the voice of Russell Brand) is the heir of the Easter Bunny throne. His dad (voice of Hugh Laurie) is about the step down and E.B. is next in line. E.B. does not want these responsibilites yet. He is not ready to fully grow up. He would rather become a famous drummer. On the day of his anointing, E.B. escapes Easter Island and heads towards Hollywood to make it famous. E.B. lands in Hollywood and picks up a Star Map to figure out where to go. He tries the Playboy Mansion since it is home to "sexy bunnies", but gets rejected before the gate even opens. While slacker Fred O'Hare (Marsden) is driving to the mansion he is house sitting for, he almost runs over E.B. He reluctantly takes in E.B. Chaos insues as E.B. trashes the mansion and is on the run from the Pink Berets. The Pink Berets are the bunnies sent to find him.

Hop is neither funny nor engaging. The story really doesn't go anywhere until the ending which causes for very slow pacing. I think the creators thought they had a funny premise but then couldn't figure out how to end it or where to take the story. There were plenty of kids in the theater when we saw it, but I didn't hear many of them laughing. There are plenty of celebrity cameos in the movie as well, so it baffles me on why they chose to be a part of the movie.

Rating: ** (2 out of 5 stars)

Director: Miguel Arteta (Youth in Revolt, The Good Girl)
Starring: Ed Helms (The Hangover, The Office), John C. Reilly (Boogie Nights, Magnolia)

Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) is a simple and naive man. He works for Brown Star Insurance, has a girlfriend (Sigourney Weaver), doesn't drink, and thinks life is just grand. After learning that his co-worker has accidentally strangled himself, he is sent to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for an insurance convention. Blue State has won the Two Diamonds Award the last two years, so Tim Lippe must make a great impression and win the award again. Things don't quite go to plan once he meets up with three insurance veterans (Anne Heche, John C. Reilly, Isiah Whitlock Jr.) Crazy antics follow as Tim's morals come into question. He finds out some disappointing truths about his company and his girlfriend causing him to question his life choices and what will happen when he leaves Cedar Rapids.

Cedar Rapids is what I like to call a "smart comedy". It starts off with a smart script and honest acting. Ed Helms is wonderful and endearing as Lippe. You ride his roller coaster of emotions with him. John C. Reilly has been playing a lot of comedy roles lately. I prefer him in more dramatic roles like his Paul Thomas Anderson movies. However, his choices as an obnoxious salesman are more toned down than I expected out of him. I thought he was funny, but not over the top.

Rating: **** 4 out of 5 stars

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Coming Soon: SCREAM 4

Accordingly to my countdown widget on my phone, we are 14 days away from the opening of Scream 4. You may be thinking to yourself, "Who cares?". Well, this nutty guy does! I have been obsessed with the Scream movies since the first one came out on video. I must admit, I didn't see the first one in the theaters. The year was 1996 and I was still too young to see Rated R movies in the theaters. I'm still distraught over that concept. By the time it came out on VHS, my sister and I rented it from Blockbuster and stayed up late one night and watched it. She had already seen it as she snuck into the theater one day to see it. She started cringing before the scary moments, so I usually knew when something was going down. By the time it was over, I was hooked. I thought it was scary, funny, and very clever. I was somewhat familiar with horror movies by that point so I knew some of the references and spoofs to the older classics.

Scream 2 was released in 1997. I guess a year later meant it was safe for me to see it in theaters WITH an adult. I think my friend and I were making plans to see it together, but the theaters wouldn't let us in without an adult. I am pretty sure I ended up seeing it anyways with my aunt and uncle on opening night. The sequel was just as exciting as the first one.

Scream 3 came two years later. While the movie didn't totally suck, it just didn't have the same feel as the first two. Ehren Kruger penned the screenplay for this one instead of Kevin Williamson. Kevin Williamson wrote the first two movies, and his style is clearly missing from the third one. It was great to see Wes Craven (director), Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette do all three movies to finish the storyline.

Fifteen years after the release of the first movie. Wes Craven, Kevin Williamson, Neve, Courtney, and David are back for Scream 4. At first, one could scoff at the idea at a fourth movie in a horror series. They are never as good as the original and by that point, they are usually pretty laughable. I have a good feeling knowing that the original team is back that they will produce a good quality movie. I'm not expecting it to be anywhere near as good as the original one. I think it will be fun to "revisit" Sidney, Gale, and Dewey. I've watched the original trilogy countless times. I think I usually re-watch the whole trilogy at least twice a year. Not only was Scream an ode to the classics before it, many have said Scream paved the way for a new generation of horror movies. They became popular again. You had new horrors stories being created, remakes of the older classics, and a new sub-culture of horror called "torture porn". It will be fun to see Scream 4 comment on what has been happening in the horror genre since it's release.

Here are the two trailers for Scream 4

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