Thursday, May 21, 2009

Still on the Fence About Purchasing "UFC 2009 Undisputed"?

I suggest you checkout Pastapadre YouTube site video on YouTube and tell me that this isn't a fantastic game that's not just for "button-mashers".


Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek....The "New, new generation"?

Okay, I realize I'm getting older, but with the latest Star Trek film, which opened in theaters a week ago, it seems that we're seeking to return into the early life of Jim Kirk, Bones, Spock and Mr. Scotty.  I remember watching the original TV show with Leonard Nimoy and William "Name Your Own Price" Shatner, which only seems yesterday.  Then when the first feature films came out a decade ago I thought "okay, so at least their providing some more updated visuals, etc".  Now it seems theres a need to go to the younger years of Star Trek "beginnings".  My question is "Why?"  Also, is this the end or will be see these characters crawling around in their diapers or perhaps even pre-birth?  I for one think there should be a moratorium on characters on film.  More on this later.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Time Machine Review: "50 First Dates"

Sometimes here at Jester Central we like to revisit old favorite movies.  Mind you the Jester hasn't written a review of this, so I figured it was overdue.  Therefore, starting now, the Jester will pick an old favorite off the shelf, or perhaps, if he's in a feisty mood, a piece of junk movie and provide it the Jester of Reel treatment!  Note that you'd normally have to pay for this kind of happiness, but the Jester is here providing it free.  Enough with the yapping, let's get to the review!!!!



200px-50FirstDates Many people I know are not Adam Sandler fans, but that's not true for the Jester.  Well, at least most Sandler films.  The Jester could use the time watching "Little Nickie" for better things, but alas, that time is long gone.  Anyhoo, Sandler plays "Henry Roth", a marine-life veterinarian living in Hawaii, where he meets Lucy Whitmore....<warning, "hottie alert"....played by Drew Barrymore.  Lucy is an art teacher in the community.  Henry first sees Lucy while eating breakfast in a cafe one morning.   We know there's something unique about Lucy by the way everyone around her is acting, everyone that is, but Henry.  After some interesting exchanges Henry and Lucy hit it off and they agree to meet for breakfast at the same spot the next day.  Fast forward twenty-four hours and we see a confused Lucy who claims she doesn't know Henry.   Finally, Henry is alerted by the cafe owner about the accident that Lucy was in a year ago and that she suffers from an amnesia called "Golfield Syndrome".   Two things have resulted from this; one Lucy can't remember anything from the time of the accident to the present day and two, she can't retain long-term memories.  Therefore, everyday is a new day of re-learning people's names, meeting the same people over and over, repainting a wall (which her brother and father whitewash each evening), and so on.

Henry meet's Lucy's father and brother (a muscle-head played by Sean Astin aka Sam Gange from Lord of the Rings) and learns that Lucy thinks everyday is October 13, 2002.  That's because this is her father's birthday and let's everyone recreate good memories, so they don't have to let Lucy know the truth.

Henry goes along with this, while trying to win Lucy's heart each day over and over.  There are fun scenes throughout and yet you feel a sense of sorrow for both Henry and Lucy.   The characters played do a fabulous job with their parts and we feel happy, sad, joyful and sad as they do what they think is best for Lucy, despite the suffering it causes themselves.

The story is funny, but teaches us lessons about life and enabling others to feel sorrow and live, rather than keeping them in denial.  Rob Schneider has a role, as he always does in Adam Sandler movies; this time as a Ula, a Hawaiian father of numerous children and a funny relationship with his off-screen wife.

The Jester lists "50 First Dates" in his "must watch" collection and keeps it handy for rainy days, vacations, or just when he needs a good hearty laugh.  This comes highly recommended and the Jester suggests you rent this for the first time or just to revisit an "old film friend".  Make sure to make some popcorn, snuggle up and enjoy this fantastically done comedy.

jester5 (1) out of jester5 (1)    (A "MUST PURCHASE")

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Review: Run Fatboy Run

Okay, when the Jester saw this film he thought, "Hmmmm, do I want to go there?".  I finally broke down and rented it, since it had Simon Pegg as the main star and second, well it had Simon Pegg as the star.  I figured it was only 99cents, so I'd just have to give up an item off the dollar menu the next visit to Wendys or wherever.

Okay, so on with the review.

Simon Pegg plays Dennis Doyles, who it seems was going to marry his pregnant girlfriend Libby, played by Thandie Newton, before getting cold feet and running away during the preparation for the wedding. We see Dennis running furiously while watching Libby yelling for him to return, while being surrounded by attendants and such.  We fast forward to five years later where Dennis discovers that Libby has started seeing high-flying highly successful Whit.  Dennis' son, Jake has grown attached to Whit and Dennis knows he has little time to win back Libby, if he can at all.

Dennis attends a party where he runs into Whit and in a moment after finding out Whit is running in a marathon soon in London, states he will too. Libby is a doubter especially after her experiences of seeing Dennis run away from a lot of things, including her.  As Dennis trains, despite wanting to run away from this challenge too, he finds that he could help his son along the way.  It seems that Jake, has formed a crush on a girl in his class, but runs away angry when he finds out she prefers another boy. Dennis, who is frantically called by Libby, tracks Jake down and explains to him that he will find many things he does not like in his life and he should just stand up to them and face them, rather than running away, having made that mistake himself.

The movie follows Dennis through the journey of "following through" on the race as a metaphor of the past he's trying to change.  What we find is that much like own lives, Dennis needs help, which he receives from his best friend Gordon and his landlord.  Of course, most of us, unlike Dennis, don't have coaches hitting us with spatula's as motivation.

On the day of the race we, along with Libby, find that things aren't necessarily what they seem, the unforgivable can be forgiven and mistakes of the past can be healed.

I really enjoyed this movie all the way through.  It's especially pertinent as we think of our own "walls".  Simon Pegg again does a great job with his role and the supporting job of his "coaches" along the way is spot-on.  I think most people will really enjoy this movie and the lessons one learns about life.

Jester gives this

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

REVIEW: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

The latest rage has been for studios to release "Unrated" versions of movies, which most of the time include what the censors wouldn't let go for the theater versions.  This is almost always gratuitous violence or sexual stuff.  You can group this into; violent movies include more graphic violence, while comedies include more graphic sexual scenes.

I'd understood that "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" was an instant classic in waiting, so I waited for it to come out on video.  I figured that I'd skip the extra features, etc to avoid the stuff unnecessary for the story.  I popped in the disc, sat down with the Jester popcorn and big glass of Arnold Palmer tea (1/2 iced tea & 1/2 lemonade).

A synopsis of the storyline is that Peter Bretter (played by Jason Segal and also the movies writer) writes/performs the musical score to a successful TV drama in which his girlfriend, Sarah Marshall, is the lead actress.  Peter spends his time working from home, dressed in usually whatever he wears to bed, while maintaining an unkept presence.  Sarah's success leads her to seek out other "successful" people and away from Peter.  While Peter believes things are going fine, Sarah is building-up to to leave him.  The DVD's first shocking scene scene occurs within the first fifteen minutes or so and can be dubbed the "Full Frontal Male Nudity Breakup Scene".  Sarah is going to breakup with Peter, but he is prepared to surprise her with a full-frontal shot of himself when she walks in the door to their loft.  The breakup scene is like a car wreck, since it's uncomfortable to watch, but as much as you want to turn away, you can only stare at it with an open mouth.

Sarah leaves Peter and he's inconsolable, despite the best efforts of his friends and family.  We've all been there after a difficult breakup, that is, the place where you're in denial, then hurt, then anger, while still in a state of confusion.  What we get is a journey of outsiders trying to get a person to forget their previous love and realize that their life isn't over and actually is much better off.

There are interesting roles throughout, including Peter's half-brother, Brian Bretter (played by Bill Hader) who reflects what Peter is reluctant to pursue, namely a relationship with responsibilities to a partner that goes beyond physical presence.
Kristen Bell as "Sarah Marshall" is mult-dimensional playing both the villain and the victim, which will become evident throughout the movie. We watch as Sarah leaves Peter only to fall in the arms of Aldous Snow, a famous rock star (played by Brit Russell Brand)  Brand is fantastically lovably-hatable.  We despise him "stealing" Sarah, yet we see he simple was himself.  It turns out that his unwillingness to "grow-up" turns the tables in an interesting way.

"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is a movie that will touch nerves with most of us, since we want to root for the seeming underdog (Peter), while seeing the hurt and hurting in each character.  Mila Kunis (Jackie from "That 70s Show" is a person who is vulnerable in being interested in Peter and helps him "forget Sarah".  The key is whether Peter can and wants to truly forget Sarah  himself.  Again, we've all been in situations where a love who leaves us wants to return and how do we respond, especially when there's another interested party.

The story is good and you just to be aware of the initial frontal nudity and also a graphic sex scene about halfway through that likely wasn't this graphic in the theater.  Nonetheless there are lessons that each character experiences that we will all relate to.  I enjoyed the movie, despite the shocks and think that watched with the right people will make it a fun experience for you too.  Find out if Peter "Forget's Sarah Marshall" if I can forget that breakup scene.

Jester gives it  **** out of ***** for the movie

Jester gives it * out of ****** for the uncut portions.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Review: Is it Good or like hitting a WALL-E?

Okay, so the Jester will admit that he likes animated movies as much as any other genre.  Being the parent of a young lady I sit through a variety of movies, including, but not limited to, Barbie, CareBears, Hannah Montana, and the like.  I've always been a fan of good movies and especially those put out by Pixar Studios.  I was even more intrigued, since WALL*E was produced by the same folks who brought us "Finding Nemo".  What's interesting is that they brought the same beauty and wonder from that movie and made it work "in space".

After the sudden snow that fell in our area a few days ago and the fact that Thursdays will cease to be .99 cent rentals at our local store  I figured it was a great time to finally pick-up Wall-E, along with a couple of others.

The premise of WALL*E is based on the question of "what if mankind left an uninhabited Earth and only one working trash-compacting robot was left?"  My daughter told me that once the movie started "I had to sit down and not move, since I'd miss important stuff".  I brushed it off, since anyone who knows the Jester knows that he multi-tasks even when movies are going.  I figured I'd satisfy her for a short time by sitting there and later I'd get up and do stuff, while watching at the same time.  That last part didn't actually come to fruition.  Okay, I digress...

As the movie started we see the outline of a big city, but thankfully I listened to my daughter, since it becomes apparent that this isn't just any cityscape.  We find WALL*E doing what he's been programmed to do, namely cleanup trash and turn it into compacted cubes.  After hundreds of years of doing this, along with a sidekick cockroach, his world is turned upside-down when a rocketship appears with EVE, a sleek female robot searching for something.  Now, normally I would find it difficult to watch a movie in which there is no speaking by the characters for the first twenty minutes or so, but WALL*E was clearly different.  Anyway, back to the movie, WALL*E is clearly in love when he lays eyes on EVE, but she is single-minded in her secret task.  After numerous close calls from EVEs deadly "laser-blast", they finally meet.  In a eerie, robots like humans interaction between the two, we see WALL*E expressing his attraction to EVE, only to have his advances turned away by her single-mindedness.  In many heartbreaking scenes we see WALL*E being vulnerable only to be turned away.  Soon after yet another rejection, WALL*E retuns to his original work and it's here that he accidentally stumbles on the secret item that EVE was searching for.  When he shows EVE the item, her programming causes her to shut-down, with just a blinking green light.  Again, we see WALL*E being loyal toward EVE in rain, wind, storms, and the like, despite her unresponsiveness.  Alas, this will come to light later. 

Soon, a rocketship appears to take EVE off with the item, namely to inform the humans who have been waiting in space for years for this fantastic find.  WALL*E doesn't want EVE to leave without him, so he latches onto the spaceship carrying her.  Thus begins an exciting movie that had me entralled with the fun, yet poignant story of loneliness, hope, fear, loyalty, sloth, heroism and yes, even love.

Perhaps the Jester could relate to WALL*E, but then again, I think each of us can in some way.  This is a movie that you'll enjoy with kids, but even adults can enjoy the path of love that's woven throughout the story.  I didn't see this in the theater and I waited quite awhile to see it on DVD, but I'm very glad I finally did.  I highly recommend that you don't read any reviews, except this one and definitately DO NOT read any wikipedia articles about the story.  This is a movie that you'll want to watch, without any knowledge ahead of time.  This is a movie that can be enjoyed by all ages and the story is worth taking in throughout. 

Now, it's rare for the Jester to recommend a movie as a "must see", but WALL*E fits in that category.  Take my daughter's advice and sit down with a bowl of popcorn and enjoy the movie with your loved-ones, without getting'll be glad, like me, that you did.

out of    

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Review: What Happens in Vegas

whathappensvegas.jpg Okay, so I rent this movie at the local "99 cent Mondays" at a local store and figure "what the heck".  Now, any movie with Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher as the lead's isn't one that I think will particularly "inform me", "make me double over in laughter" or "wow me".  As I think back to the movies these two have been in lately, none of them "Jump out".   Okay, to the movie itself...."ready, go"

The basis of this movie is that Joy McNally (Diaz) and Jack Fuller (Kutcher) end up in Vegas separately, after facing relationship trauma; Kutcher after being fired by his boss/father and Diaz after her fiance breaks their engagement due to her uptightness.  Each one comes to Vegas with a best friend, yet a hotel mistake plops them all in a single room.  After some one upping each other with the desk clerk, the four end up partying late into the night.  Cue to the morning where Joy and Jack find that after a drunken night they're now married.  When cooler heads prevail they end up downstairs determining how to end the marriage when Jack borrows a coin from Joy and plays a slot machine.  <Cue the music>  Lo and behold, Jack hits the jackpot and wins $3,000,000.  Problem is whose money is it?  <Cue the court room>  Conservative judge, played by Dennis Miller, freezes the money and orders the couple to really work on their marriage for six months, including weekly couples therapy.  If they both finish the six months then the money will be split evenly, but if either one breaks the order then the other person gets the full amount.  Got that?


What transpires are the hijinks of each person trying to get the other to want out of the marriage.  Time together and therapy changes people and Joy and Jack's attitudes toward each other soften.  The question is whether greed or love will win out.

I went into this movie with little expectations or worry, since it was a buck rental.  While the stereotype scenario is there and Diaz and Kutcher don't wow us on screen, the movie wasn't half bad.  There are funny parts, mixed with some sappy scenes.   Unfortunately, the ending seems rushed and fits a lot in a short time frame.  Of course, neither Kutcher or Diaz will carry a movie by themselves, so perhaps the ending came "just in time".


Jester says "wait for "99 cent day" at your local rental store and enjoy the movie, despite its shortcomings.


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Should you say "Yes" to "Yes, Man"?

Sorry to all my readers, that is to say "reader" about the delay in getting my first review out.  Rather than waste time with excuses let's get this blog a-going!


200px-YesMan2008poster (1)When I saw the ads for "Yes, Man" I thought that merging Jim Carey's brand of physical comedy with the premise of saying "Yes" to everything could be a recipe for a train-wreck of hilariousness.  This evidenced from Carey's work as Fire Marshall Bill on "In Living Color", and feature films like "Mask", "Ace Ventura" and "Liar, Liar".  BTW, I laugh every time I think of the bathroom scene in that last movie, which will cover in a future review.  Anyway, I had high hopes for this movie for some mindless fun and  I finally found time to go with one of my nephews while in Texas.

Yes, Man tries to deal with the idea of how often we run from the pain of a broken commitment by simply being non-committal to anything.  Thus is the case of Carl, played by Jim Carey.  We see a guy whose heart was broken and to cope he says "No" to everything, except being home alone watching movies, eating and sleeping.  His friends try to wrest him from his self-imposed solitary existence, but with little success.  Finally, Carl (Jim Carey) runs into an old friend who says his life changed for the better when he began to say "Yes!"  Carl goes to a seminar with the friend and is challenged by the leader (played by Terence Stamp) to say "Yes" to every opportunity he faces over the next thirty days, no matter what.  Of course, this leads to insanity, but a lesson at the end.

There are glimmers of Carey's crazy physical humor, but just when you think it's going to get crazy, the script abruptly stops him.  I was confused with the director's use of Carey, since he's clearly a physical talent, but it seemed like the director didn't want him to "take  over" the story trying to be told.  While I can understand this worry perhaps it would have been better dealt with by casting another actor, instead of Jim Carey.   I went into the theater expecting one thing and left feeling like Carey was underused and yet the story didn't stick out either.  Note to director's and screenwriters....GIVE JIM CAREY THE FREEDOM TO "RIFF" AND THEREBY CREATE!   Every movie that they do this with just works.  (see "Bruce Almighty" and "Liar, Liar", in which Carey was crazy funny, yet the story was poignant)

A glimmering bright spot in "Yes, Man" was Zooey Deschanel, who plays the part of an eccentric person who also has been hurt, but she deals with it by doing her own thing, whether driving scooters in a crazed way, singing in an eccentric band or leading a group of running photographers.  BTW, the band she was the lead singer of reminded me of a mixture of "The B-52's" and Shirley Manson of "Garbage", except for the fact that Zooey's fan base was a whopping five people.  Anyway, I've always enjoyed Zooey in a variety of movies, including Elf, where she was the substance to Will Ferrell's craziness.  Unfortunately, the director and screenwriter didn't use the same dynamic between the characters written for Carey and Deschanel.  Where there was great opportunity the result was "blah".

The screenplay struggled in finding an identity.  The result is a tepid movie that had good parts, but seemed to labor more than necessary.  This wasn't a bad movie, but wasn't great either, sort of like drinking lukewarm water on a hot day.  As I mentioned before I think casting Carey for the part as it was written was a mistake and perhaps would have been better played by Owen Wilson.  This movie had a chance to be a great one like Bruce Almighty, but was hurt by the screenplay, which wasn't really funny or serious.

The story is about committing again after being hurt.  It's a good story and one that I'd recommend, but wait to say "Yes" to this movie until it comes out on DVD.


image image out of   image image image image image

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Every Court of Royalty Needs a Jester aka "how this came to being"

Welcome to the appendage of the Duchess of Reel, a Blogspot blog that my sister-in-law writes. This blog was actually born today, January 7, 2008, also the birthday of my brother the Doc, whom also writes a Blogspot blog titled Doc's Advice. (Note: both a great blogs, so go right away and "follow" both of them.) The birth of my blog came from a lunchtime conversation about how in my opinion, my sister-in-law only covers a small amount of films, aka "the classy ones", while many other films are never given a mention on her blog. I love reading her blog and get great ideas for films to rent and/or checkout. In the course of our conversation I counted numerous times when I said "have you seen ____" and she replied "No" or a resounding "No Way!!!". I realized that there were a boat-load of "non-classics" that I've watched and sometimes enjoyed that she hasn't seen. In the course of that I made an off-the-cuff joke about "well, if you're the Duchess of Reel, then clearly I'd be the jester of that court". In a flurry of thought I announced "I'm gonna start a blog called "Jester of Reel" and cover the movies you don't.

I wanted to "Stand up" for those movies from "artistes" by the name of Stiller, Black, Meyers, and Sandler, as well as others. What better way than to become the disjointed arm of the respected blog "Duchess of Reel"? Some of the all-time favorites of the Duchess are, To Kill a Mockingbird", Out of Africa and Moonstruck to name a few. I wonder then, what would the "all-time favorites list" of the "Jester of Reel" look like? A couple of considerations:

  • Grandma's Boy
  • Run Fatboy Run
  • Zoolander
  • Austin Powers trilogy
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Caddyshack
  • (Others)
Of course, the above isn't "official", but perhaps one or all of them might make the'll have to wait and see.

A few things to cover, include:

What this blog is: These are my thoughts, impressions, ramblings and such of movies that I've seen that likely won't win awards, except perhaps "Razzies". I reserve the right to cover any movie, including thoughts on ones that the Duchess mentions too.

What this blog is not: This is not a blog that is going to push agendas or such.

Out of crazy conversations come crazy thoughts, ideas and blogs. Please buckle your seat belts, hang onto your hats and come along for the whirlwind of rhetoric and thoughts that is "Jester of Reel".