The showdown this weekend will see a fairy tale hero take on some buddies whose only mission is to get drunk and a girl who just can’t seem to get enough exorcisms. Will you finally get to see a movie that’s worth your money? We are finally out of the putrid movie months of January and February, so that’s good news. Let’s roll the dice and see who comes out as the winner.
21 & Over
21 & Over follows the exploits of 3 childhood friends, Miller, Casey, and Jeff Chang, as they reunite to celebrate Jeff’s 21st birthday. Their big plans are almost stopped from the get-go because Jeff has a pre-med interview early the next morning and Jeff’s Dad is really counting on him. That doesn’t stop Miller and Casey from influencing Jeff to just come out for “one” drink.
This leads to guaranteed alcohol poisoning and Jeff passes out. The entirety of the movie follows Miller and Casey as they carry Jeff through campus trying to find out where he lives. Even though Jeff is out cold, they’re sure that if they find his house, they can sober him up and get him ready for his interview.
I have come to the conclusion that I’m not a fan of party movies. Even though these guys go through ridiculous circumstances, like running away from homicidal sorority sisters, setting a buffalo loose, and playing every drinking game imaginable, it just wasn’t fun. Or funny.
If shock value is your sort of thing, then you’ll appreciate the first 15 minutes. It’s very top heavy with jokes. Then it gets a little dull. The end tries to give the movie a sentimental reason for being. It felt like the Animaniacs spun the Wheel of Morality to decide what random message this movie be about in the end.
If it’s not clear, I kinda hated this movie. It’s the Frankenstein’s Monster of adolescent debauchery flicks.
Weekend at Bernies + The Hangover x Animal House / Originality = 21(& Over)
The Last Exorcism Part 2
Just when you thought “Last” meant final. Apparently, The Last Exorcism is following the path of a Cher Farewell Concert and it can’t bring itself to say goodbye.
Now before I review The Laster Exorcism, let me say that I liked the first Last Exorcism. Or should we call it the second to last exorcism. (Okay, I swear I’m done) The first movie brought up great ideas about a preacher who had lost his faith and signed on to perform an exorcism to prove it to be false. The entire movie made you question whether this girl was really being possessed or whether it was all an act. It felt unique for an exorcism movie.
I’m just going to ruin the end of that movie now. So skip ahead if you ever have plans of watching it. The preacher finds Nell’s family and townspeople standing around her in a field. They are a cult who have impregnated her with a demon. The movie ends with Nell giving birth to the demon.
The sequel picks up right where the last movie left off. Nell is found on her own and is sent to a home for troubled girls. She spends months trying to rebuild her life and forget the events that took place previously. She then starts to have nightmares and visions about her demon baby trying to reconnect with her.
This is where the movie gets weird. Several times Nell is told that the demon wants to seduce her. Only then can it be free. So let me get this straight, She had to give birth to the spawn of satan in the first movie, and now it wants to seduce her? I never knew demons had major Oedipal issues. Instead of the shock scares that take up the first half of the movie, we instead get a large dose of seeing Nell have sex dreams. Yeah……awkward.
I have to give credit to Ashley Bell, who plays Nell. This entire movie rests on her shoulders. She is very convincing as a timid victim. It’s just too bad that the movie built around her is absolute garbage. They throw the clever plot from the original out the window and end up with a boring, muddled mess.
Skip this one please. If you pay money for this movie I fear there will eventually be another sequel titled, “I Still Know What You Did During The Last Exorcism.”
Jack the Giant Slayer
Fairy tale adaptations are still big business. Last year, we saw two variations of Snow White. Now we’re getting an extended Jack and the Beanstalk story. The difference this time is that there is a quality director (Bryan Singer) and writer (Christopher McQuarrie) behind it.
The movie follows the original story to a point. Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is a farmhand who unwittingly trades his horse for a handful of mysterious beans. This movie goes past that and adds a cast of great characters. Even a few of the giants have distinct personalities. Their backstory is explained in the opening animated scene. It turns out that Fee, Fye, Foe, and Fumm are actually names of the giants’ generals.
The cast seems to be having a great time. Stanley Tucci gets a great chance to chew the scenery. Ewan McGregor is having a blast playing a noble hero in the king’s guard. This movie also gets cool points for having Ian McShane as the King and Bill Nighy as the voice of the giants’ leader, Fallon. Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson (the princess) are good too, but you almost forget about them because they’re surrounded by bigger personalities (no pun intended).
This movie is an action-adventure family film. There are quite a few deaths but the movie is clever enough to cut away at the right time. There is really only one giant explosion that could be seen as too graphic for the young-uns. I was actually surprised that this movie is rated PG-13. It’s very clean. This is the kind of movie you watched when you were 8 years old. This is The Neverending Story and Legend for preteens now.
Honestly though, I put my cynical critic hat aside and became my 8 year old self and was carried away by this movie. Very few movies are able to pull that off. Is this a flawless movie? No. Is it original? Not entirely, but it feels like it. A friend of mine made me realize that the plot exactly mirrors that of Star Wars: A New Hope….in a good way.
I really enjoyed this movie. If you have kids that are fascinated by fantasy films, this is a great choice. Also, Kudos to Nicholas Hoult for having the only two decent movies of the year so far (It’s been a slow year).