Adam Sandler's latest movie, You Don't Mess With the Zohan, has a simple enough premise. A famous Military man in Jeresulem, Zohan, decides he doesn't want to fight anymore. He would rather go to New York City in America and cut hair and be a stylist. So, he fakes his death, goes to New York, starts cutting hair, gets found and, and has to make things better. Can Sandler give us another laugh riot on par with Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, or does this fall flat like I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry? Unfortuently, its the latter.
Now, I am a huge Adam Sandler fan, I have been for a long time, but this movie was truly dissapointing. After last years critically panned I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Sandler tries to go back to what made him famous: a very immarture character in a strange situation that will turn his whole life around. This harkons back to the days of Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, but unfortuently for Sandler, it doesn't work this time, that time is long gone. I think he needs to keep doing more things like Reign Over Me and Click, not go back to what made him famous, because it just doesn't work anymore. It reminded me of Will Ferral, who acts like a man child in almost every movie he makes now, but I didn't want to Sandler go back to this. I like his dramadies like Click. That, in my opinion, is where he shines best.
One of Zohan's biggest flaws is the story itself. Its so basic, and they try to drag it out too long. This might have worked better as a series of skits of Saturday Night Live, but not here. Because what you get is essentially, the same exact jokes for 2 hours, and it just doesn't fly. Now about the jokes, they arn't very funny. I actually didn't really ever laugh during this movie, and either did the audience that I was with. The jokes fell flat, and some were almost disturbing. One thing the trailers left out was that Zohan sleeps with all the women whose hair he styles, and I guess that wouldn't be such a problem if they weren't all OLDER women, like 50s and 60s. Thats just disgusting. That single handidly ruined the movie for me. I couldn't believe it. It was just so sick, so wrong, and not funny. And he is also staying with this mother and her son, and he sleeps with the mom all the time and they make jokes about it all the time. It just gets old fast, its not funny. Or how about the hillarious gag about them eating hummous all the time? Seriously, all the time, on everything. They only do that joke every five minutes it seems like, yeah original huh?
I know Sandler was trying his best to go back to the time that made him famous, but this wasn't the way to do it. I'm wondering though, if I should lay all the blame souly on him. The movie was directed by I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry director Dennis Dugan. Now, I'm not saying his a bad director, but he really doesn't seem to try to help make this movie work. It seems like he just kinda did what Adam wanted, without stepping in and saying 'No, were doing it this way' or 'No, this won't work'. I feel that had he stepped in, maybe things could have been different. And I'm wondering how long Sandler's script actually was, because much of the movie seems like random improv. It just didn't feel like much of it was actually scripted and the director just said do what you want so they did. That makes me a bit nervous.
Another thing that bogged this movie down was the cast. No one, and I mean no one shone in this movie, not even Sandler. Maybe its because I couldn't relate to the characters, but I just didn't care about them. Not to mention, I sometimes had a hard time understanding some of them. They all have these accents that make it almost impossible to understand what they are saying, so how are you supposed to get the jokes if you can't understand them? Coincidently, the one actor I actually enjoyed is the one actor I can't stand and thats Rob Schneider. He actually doesn't come off as a complete idiot this time around, and I actually liked him more in this movie than most that I see him in. His hatred towards Zohan for taking his goat away from him years earlier was the only part of the movie I found even remotley funny.
One thing to look out for is some of the celebrity cameos in the movie as well. In one other scene I found a little funny, Chris Rock shows up as a Jamacain cab drive in New York. He tells Zohan that he came to America to make enough money so he could bring his brothers and sisters to America so they could live the American dream too. When Zohan ask's him if he succeeded, he replies smiling "No, they all got killed and tortured at home. But its ok, i have my cab." or something along those lines. Little things like this thoughtout the movie could have made it gold, but unfortuently, they arn't, and the movie falls flat.
Unfortuently, there really is nothing posotive to say about this movie. Its a bunch of sketchs strung together by a very thin plot that really never goes anywhere and is rarley funny. Adam Sandler just retreads the same jokes for 2 hours until the audience is just annoyed and wants to leave the theater. The directing is mediocure at best and the soundtrack, when it shows up, is so loud you feel like your going to go deaf. I really wanted to like this movie, I did. I love Adam Sandler, but maybe his time is coming to an end? Maybe he should start making more movies like Click, that have a meaning, than things like this. It may be in his best interest.
Patrick's grade: 3/10
Five Years ago, Universal Studios released one of the most commercially panned movies to grace the silver screens since George Lucas released Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999, and that was Ang Lee's Hulk. Starring Eric Bana, Jennifer Connley,and Nick Nolte. Critics loved Lee's vision and internal issues that he established in the characters, but fans took pitch forks to it and ripped the film apart. Not enough Hulk, not a good bad guy, daddy issues?, doesn't feel like Hulk, they don't call him Hulk, too little action, etc. They wanted something more like the tv show, and something with a lot of action, something more like the comics. So Marvel decided to go back and start fresh with it. The second movie their new studio has released, The Incredible Hulk is what fans have been waiting for. Starring the critcally acclaimed actor Edward Norton (Fight Club, American History X) as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Acaademy winner William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Women, Nominated: A History of Violence) as Gen. Thunderbolt Ross, Academy Award nominee Tim Roth (Rob Roy) as Emil Blonsky, and Liv Tyler(The Lord of the Rings series, Jersey Girl) as Betty Ross, and directed by French director Louis Leterrier (Transporter, Unleashed [aka Danny the Dog over seas]}, Marvel takes the Hulk back to the basics, making the Hulk do what he always was meant to do, and that's SMASH!
The Incredible Hulk is about Bruce Banner, a fugitive on the run from the goverment who is trying to find a cure for his...unusual problem. Stalked by his ex-girlfriends crazy father General Thunderbolt Ross, who is bent on catching him to use what is in Bruce's blood so they can make it into the weapon. He hires a man named Emil Blonsky, a European army man past his prime who grows an obsession with beating the Hulk. Banner goes back to America to hopefully find a cure, but finds only trouble instead.
I have to say, when the prospects of another movie about the Hulk was being talked about, I wasn't sure how I felt. The first movie, while a disaster, had some good elements to it. The actors, at least for the most part, were good in their roles, and the action, when there, usually didn't look that bad. But the film lacked in the sense of good characters, a good bad guy, and the Hulk itself looked like a video game character, and it had giant mutant dogs. HULK DOGS! Whose brilliant idea was that? I would to have loved to been at that meeting where they came up with that idea. I wasn't sure if I was going to be ok with a sequel to that movie, so when I heard that they were going to start fresh, I will admit I became interested. The prospect of starting new meant that the studio had unlimited possibilitiesto to go off of, as long as we didn't have another origin story.
Marvel hired Zak Penn (X2, X-Men:The Last Stand, Behind Enemy Lines) to write a new version of the movie, more like a mix between the tv show and the comics. Then they hired Louis Leterrier to direct, which I thought was a brillant move because Unleashed is by far one of my favorite movies I've seen, and the way he made it was incredible. His version of the Hulk, I knew, would be more action, more fun, and more brutal. And to top it off, they hired one of my favorite actors, Edward Norton, to play Bruce Banner. If you've never had the chance to enjoy Edward Norton as an actor, I am very sorry and I highly recommend Fight Club, American History X, The Illustionist, and Red Dragon to you. If you've seen Fight Club, you know right away that Norton is the perfect choic to play Banner, and Marvel knew it too.
Now let me just say, this movie was awesome! Really, really awesome. I've been really impressed by Marvel studios twice now in less than two months. They have proved to me that they know what they're doing and are really setting a high bar for the comic book movie landscape. And that is one of the highest compliments I can give such a young studio. It just goes to show they care about their properties. Let's just hope that they can keep this going with Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers.
This movie really has no flaws, at least that I could see. Edward Norton is incredible (No pun intended =P) as Bruce Banner/Hulk. He is very believable as a fugitive on the run who just wants to find a cure for his problem. He plays it so well, and you really feel for him. You cheer for him when the army attacks him. You see them hurt Betty and you say the rage in Banner turn him for his love for her, and you can't help but want to cheer for him. William Hurt is also very good as General Ross, a man obsessed with trying to catch Banner so that he can use whats inside Bruce to make the ultimate soldier (A very nice nod to Captain America). Tim Roth is phenomenal as Emil Blonsky, the man Ross hires to catch Banner. He too becomes obsessed with the Hulk, but only because he wants to beat Hulk. He wants to become Hulk! Liv Tyler, who I usually find not exactly great in films, is actually good this time around as Betty Ross. You can see her love for Bruce is unconditional, so much that she would do anything for him, no matter the conseqeunces. She has a broken relationship with her father, General Ross, because of his constant obsession with trying to bring in Bruce. He made her love a fugitive, and she will never forgive him for that. Also, a nice addition in this movie is Tim Blake Nelson showing up briefly as Samuel Sterns, who comic fans will go crazy over because they know who he is going to become later on, which actually starts to happen here! Yeah, it was very cool.
Louis Leterrier, the director of the movie, does a phenomenal job here. He already has a very good resume for action movies (Transporter 1 and 2, Unleashed), went to show me that Marvel wanted an action oriented movie. But also showed me he could create great characters! Here, he gets to try to create a balance between the two, and does it very well. When the characters are talking, you really care about them, and you really get to know them. And then when the action picks up, he makes it very cool! I think one of my favorite things he did was during Bruce's first transformation in the soda plant in Brazil is that the Hulk is shrouded in shadows during the fight. Its a very creepy, monster movie style way to shoot it, and it works well here. It leaves the Hulk shrouded in mystery, and that to me is very cool. You can see outlines of him, but you never get to see him, full on, and that was the best way to do it until his big reveal during the second action scene on a college campus. Another scene that I thought was really well directed was a scene involving Betty and the Hulk. The Hulk saves her during one of the action scenes and goes into hiding, taking her with him. They hide in a cave and he is almost like a little kid, and he isn't sure what to do. It's a very King Kong feeling, but it works. I like it quite a bit. The action that Leterrier shoots is quite amazing, to say the least, and is some of the best I've seen in a comic book movie. His eye for cool action is quite good, and what he does here is amazing, especially during the final fight between Hulk and Abomination in the streets of New York City. The fight lasts about fifteen minutes, and it is really fun, really crazy, and quite brutal. I couldn't believe some of the things they did in this movie for the fact that it was PG-13. But I loved every single minute of it!
Another thing that really worked in this movies favor is the script. We've seen stories similar to this many times before, but the way its handled here is nicely done. The characters are also well defined, at least for the most part. And the opening montage, showing how Banner became Hulk and why he is one the run is very well done here in 3 minutes. Its a great way to show the origin without having to show it all over again. I felt that Zak and Edward really knew the characters and knew what fans wanted, and they give them what they wanted. They wanted Hulk smash, and thats what they gave us was Hulk smash! But not without making great characters at the same time.
The score is good, but its not heavily placed into the movie. One things that fans of the TV show might notice is the "Lonley Man" theme playing throughout the movie, or as many people know it as, The Sad Walking away music from the show. I just wish Hulk had a standout music theme though everytime he showed up (like Spider-Man and Superman), but maybe in due time. One things fans will eat up are lots of the references to S.H.E.I.L.D, Nick Fury, and other comic book and tv references they put into the movie. They really filled this thing full of in references for future movies, and I'm really glad they did! One thing to also look out for is Lou Ferrigno, who played Hulk in the TV series shows up here in a very cool, touching cameo, that kind of passes the torch to Edward Norton, and its very touching. He also does the voice of the Hulk in the movie, which is another thing! Hulk speaks! Not much, but he does! And let me just say, he sprouts one things comic fans have been waiting for him to say for a long time! And the last scene in the movie has a great cameo by a character we are all too familiar with now, and it will have you smiling ear to ear for the future of things to come!
Something that did surprise me, was how dark the movie could get, especially towards the end. The abomination is truly evil, and actually quite terrifying and menacing, so if you have any kids, you may want to see the movie first yourself and determine if you think your child can hadle it, because some kids may be able to handle it, but others may not.
Overall, I can't come up with anything wrong to say about this movie! And that is one of the best things I can say about a comic book movie, especially during the summer season! This is a great popcorn flick for the casual movie goer, a great comicbook movie, and something that I think fans will really love. Its worth the price of a night showing, or even a matinee if you want to go to that, but its defiently worth your time. You'll forget the Ang Lee version ever exsisted, and you'll be wanting more by the end of the movie! Go check it out! Its defiently worth it!
Patrick's Grade: 10/10
19 years. It had been 19 years since Harrison Ford starred as the iconic Indiana Jones. The last time he was on screen we saw him riding off into the sunset with his father, Henry Jones Sr., and his friends Sallah and Marcus Brody after fighting Nazis and finding the Holy Grail. But how do you try and follow up riding off into the sunset? And 19 years after too? Well, you make it crazy, you make it fun, you make it Indy! And after 19 years, it better have been worth the wait. Can Speilberg, Lucas, Ford, and Williams bring Indy back this long after? Can we still watch Ford running around and getting beaten up without thinking he's getting to old for this? Will Shia be the Jar Jar Binks of the Indiana Jones series? And will Lucas tarnish this movie like he did to the Star Wars series with the prequels? These are the questions everyone is asking themselves, and let me just say: It's awesome! Indy is back!
It was weird watching a new Indiana Jones film after seeing the first three so many times over the past 18 years. But it works. Picking up 19 years after The Last Crusade, the movie starts in Nevada, 1957. Indy and his friend and partner Mac have been captured by a group of Russian soldiers, led by the creepy as Spalko, and taken to a military warehouse where Indy must help them find a certain crate. Indy doesn't know what's inside it, but he goes along with it, and then the fun begins! In very Indy fasion, Indy escapes the Russians and goes back to Marshall College. He gets fired because the government thinks hes a Communist spy, ends up getting on a train to leave, meet's a kid named Mutt Williams who asks him for help to save his mom and Indy's old friend Oxley. This is where the adventure starts to find the Crystal Skulls. Oxley and Mutt's mother Mary got captured by the Russians while trying to find the crystal skulls, which is what the Russian's are looking for too. Along the way are classic Indy traps, creepy critters, and a reunion that all Indy fans have been waiting for!
So where do I begin? I loved this movie. I felt like a little kid again sitting in the theater watching Indy whipping, running, jumping, and fighting his way out of crazy situations that only Indiana Jones could get into. Its by no means on the level of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but nothing really ever can be. But its fun! It's Indiana Jones! I enjoyed every minute of it. The fact that Indy was back made me so happy, and it made me hope that we have another Indiana Jones movie very soon!
Harrison Ford was the best I had seen him in a long time! Lately, most of the movies I have seen him in, he seems stale, bored, and really just unmovtivated to act well in the movie. But he seemed fresh, like new life had been breathed into him. He was amazing as the now aging Indy, and he looked like he was having a lot of fun. He seemed to just be happy to be back as Indy, and that just made me feel giddy like a school boy (haha Indy references are fun ;D) inside. And his work with Shia is quite awesome. They played off each other really well, like Connery and Ford did in Last Crusade.
Adn thats another thing, Shia. The haters will always hate him, but he DID NOT hurt this movie.He was actually really good. His character is actually really interesting and the way he negates Harrison's older, wiser, crankier Indy is hillarious. He was incredible as Mutt Williams. And I loved him in it. People will say what they will, but he was good. And what was even better was the return of everyones favortie Indy girl Marion Ravenwood. She is the mother of Mutt and it was great to see her again! She looked great, and she seemed to be having lots of fun being back on the Indy set again, and her and Ford still had that flair that made them so awesome in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The first time they saw each other, a little part of me started crying with joy. And they still argue so well! And when (SPOILER AHEAD) Marion and Indy are slowly sinking in a quick sand pit and she reveals to Indy that Mutt is his son, their is an incredible feeling of shock and disbelief from the aging Indy. And it was hillarious.
Unfortuently though, one of the sad things is the underuse of Ray Winestone as Indy's friend Mac and John Hurt as Oxley. They are both incredible actors, but are underused. When they are in it, they are good, but they just don't get to do it enough. Cate Blanchette as the evil Spalko, she is good, but she is creepy. I really liked her villian, but I wish they had given her more. They touch on the fact that she is pyshcic, but they never actually go into detail about it.
And thats the really problem with the movie. The script. As much as I love the movie, the script is flawed. David Koepp is a great writer, but his work on this is a little strange. There are plot holes here and there, there are a few too many characters, and its a little National Treasure-esque when it comes to Indy trying to figure out the clues to the Crystal Skulls. And he has a few very corny things in the script, including Mutt swinging through the jungle with monkies. It was a strange... The nice thing about the script though was the little nods Koepp added to the earlier movies, and it was nice to see that. You have to see the movie more than once to get all the little things in it. Another slight problem was John Williams score. Sad to say, there isn't much new and exciting stuff there. None of the new music really stands out like the Raiders March or The Well of Souls theme. This was heartbreaking for me, because I have been a fan of John Williams for quite some time, and to see that he lost his edge here was disconcerning to say the least. I just hope that all his scores won't be like this, because that would be a true loss of a great composer.
And yes, I've heard people complain about the fact that the movie has some Sci-Fi elements. It does. The Crystal Skulls are alien based, but it works. Aliens are not hard to believe, especailly with the power of God melting peoples faces, rocks that let you take over the world, and a Cup that gives you everlasting life. And also, there is CGI, and yeah, its corny looking, but thats the point. Its SUPPOSED to be like a 1950's sci-fi movie/1930s serial movie, and it is. Its done well.
If you like Indiana Jones, I think you'll like this movie. I think its a great way to spend two hours at the theater. Its like spending time with an old friend who you haven't seen in a long time. Now really, go check it out if you haven't already. I think you'll like it! There really is something here for everyone to like, and I've seen it 3 times, and come to realize that you appreciate it more each time you watch it. I just hope if they do make one more, that it adds closure to the story. We don't need to over kill the series, because that would just be horrible. I loved the movie, and I think you will too.
Patrick's Rating: 9/10