Extract – A Movie Review

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Feb 212010

Click to watch the trailer for Extract.Joel is one step away from selling his flavor extract factory and retiring to easy street when a freak workplace accident sets in motion a series of disasters that put his business and personal life in jeopardy.

Genres: Comedy; Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.; Release Date: September 4th, 2009 (limited); MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual references and some drug use.

Starring: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Ben Affleck, J. K. Simmons

Directed by: Mike Judge

We watched this on DVD a couple of weeks ago, and it was reasonably good movie with several funny sub-plots. I watched this movie with Lay having no expectations whatsoever. I hadn’t seen the trailer and I didn’t know who was in it. The initial premise was interesting: a successful businessman in an odd industry wanting to sell up to be able to live a different life and spend more time with his wife.

With a few motion pictures and several television projects under his belt, Mike Judge has become the undisputed master of working man’s comedy. No matter the color of their, the characters created by Judge exist on the front-lines of American industry.  Judge is content not to tug the heartstrings or rely on frequent hilarity as long as he is able to build the impression that the people on screen are an honest reflection of the co-worker to your right or the relative on your left.

The cast Judge has assembled is very good. Jason Bateman continues to display his mastery of portraying the straight man; playing effortlessly against the eccentricities of his oddball co-workers and the other peculiar people surrounding him. The scene-stealers here, though, are Ben Affleck, Clifton Collins Jr., J.K. Simmons and David Koechner. Affleck submits a wonderful performance as a bartender who believes Xanax is the cure for everything (including the common cold). The role tackled by Collins Jr. is one dimensional on paper, but the actor’s performance provides the character with depth and humanity. J.K. Simmons appears to relish the opportunity to play Joel’s business partner and is given several killer lines to play with, while Koechner nails the part as the annoying, talkative, socially awkward neighbour. Mila Kunis (best known as the voice of Meg Griffin in Family Guy) is well-suited to the role of Cindy; she’s required to look ridiculously hot as she goes about her business of tricking the men she encounters, and she pulls it off. The music store scene is especially funny.

Judge places an interesting and funny film that doesn’t seem to be interested in finishing,or filling out the characters and/or situations of the story,and thus falls short of previous efforts(Office Space and Idiocracy). Practically every character besides Joel is left open-ended: the wife,the injured worker in question,the unctuous neighbor played by David Koechner and the grifter hottie. Certainly a quick comedy that plays for absurd events that mull out of mundane occurrences is probably going to have one-dimensional characters,but it still feels like this film was somewhat hurried. A little more exposition and maybe an awkwardly pinned ending might’ve improved the quality of this film.

Still,the lines and some of the performances–the guy who plays the stutlifyingly dumb young hustler hired to seduce Joel’s wife is particularly mint,complimenting Affleck’s inspired turn–make this movie easily enjoyable. Certainly no Oscar contenders here, but it was kind of a fun movie, and worth the time watching it.

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Hancock – A Movie Review

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Jul 092008

Hancock Movie PosterThere are heroes… there are superheroes… and then there’s Hancock. With great power comes great responsibility — everyone knows that — everyone, that is, but Hancock. Edgy, conflicted, sarcastic, and misunderstood, Hancock’s well-intentioned heroics might get the job done and save countless lives, but always seem to leave jaw-dropping damage in their wake. The public has finally had enough — as grateful as they are to have their local hero, the good citizens of Los Angeles are wondering what they ever did to deserve this guy. Hancock isn’t the kind of man who cares what other people think — until the day that he saves the life of PR executive Ray Embrey, and the sardonic superhero begins to realize that he may have a vulnerable side after all. Facing that will be Hancock’s greatest challenge yet — and a task that may prove impossible as Ray’s wife, Mary, insists that he’s a lost cause.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Drama and Romance; Release Date: July 2nd, 2008 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence and language.

Cast: Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Eddie Marsan and Charlize Theron

Director: Peter Berg

This was basically the Will Smith show again, just like “I Am Legend”. I thought Will stepped outside of his normal good guy role this time. His potrayal of an all around, highly intoxicated, grade A, professional as*hole was very good! His piss poor attitude was only out matched by his supreme arrogance! I thought looking into the mindset of a superhero who suffered from the same emotional pitfalls as other humans was definitely a different take than what we are used to seeing in typical superhero flicks, but that’s about it for the plot. The ending was mediocore! There was no real enemy here. They were their own worst enemies. And what was with the tornadoes during the fight scene, what purpose did that serve? I thought a super villian was about to arrive so Hancock and the blonde could team up to fight it.

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Oct 212007

The KingdomWhen a terrorist bomb detonates inside a Western housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, an international incident is ignited. While diplomats slowly debate equations of territorialism, FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) quickly assembles an elite team (Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman) and negotiates a secret five-day trip into Saudi Arabia to locate the man behind the bombing. Upon landing in the desert kingdom, however, Fleury and his team discover Saudi authorities suspicious and unwelcoming of American interlopers into what they consider a local matter.

Peter Berg

Action, Crime, Thriller, Drama

Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Ashraf Barhom, Ali Suliman, Jeremy Piven, Richard Jenkins, Kyle Chandler, Frances Fisher, Danny Huston, Kelly AuCoin, Anna Deavere Smith, Minka Kelly, Amy Hunter

FBI Agent Fleury’s crew finds a like-minded partner in Saudi Colonel Al-Ghazi, who helps them navigate royal politics and unlock the secrets of the crime scene and the workings of an extremist cell bent on further destruction.  With these unlikely allies sharing a propulsive commitment to crack the case, the team is led to the killer’s front door.

This movie ends up feeling like an episode of ’24’. The cast are great though especially Piven and Foxx, but Cooper and Garner seem criminally underused in the film. The film is harrowing in parts and the scenes involving Bateman and the extremists are some of the most tense scenes seen .

The Kingdom is exciting, well acted and tense but almost ruined by the restless hand-held camera-work. I simply do not understand why some directors think that this technique adds anything to a movie. Presumably it is intended to replicate a documentary style by conveying a sense of urgency and excitement but the effect is simply headache-inducing.You get no time to focus on any one scene as the camera twitches from one angle to another.

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