Monday, April 17, 2006
Movie Reviews: Scary Movie 4, Fun with Dick and Jane & Wolf Creek
Scary Movie 4
Sending up blockbusters such as Saw, Million Dollar Baby, War of the Worlds, The Village and The Grudge, the fourth installment of the spoof franchise finds dimwitted Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris) joined by the cute and clueless Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko) in a fight to save the world from an alien invasion.
Cast Anthony Anderson, Craig Bierko, Carmen Elektra, Chris Elliott, Anna Faris (more)
Director(s) David Zucker
Writer(s) Craig Mazin
Status In theaters (wide)
Genre(s) Comedy, Horror
Release Date April 14, 2006
Running Time 83 minutes
MPAA Rating PG-13 - for crude and sexual humor throughout, some comic violence and language
The Scary Movie franchise made a bit of a comeback after David Zucker, of Airplane! fame, was handed the reins for the 3rd film. Zucker returns with the 4th installment, which is a mixed bag of gags that mostly fall flat. Spoofing mainly War of the Worlds, Saw and The Grudge, this movie moves a fairly brisk pace however it does tend to linger on certain gags, which is fine if its funny, like a certain subtitled segment, but painful when the joke isnt funny. A lot of humor is pretty juvenile, more so than the previous installments. Sadly, there arent as many laughs as there should be in this movie. Anna Farris does well in this movie as she continues her move towards becoming this generations Leslie Nielsen, her comic timing is excellent and has remained one of the few bright spots in this series.
Fun with Dick and Jane
After years of work, Dick Harper (Carrey) is finally promoted to vice president of media company Globodyne. But after one day on the job, the company goes down in flames in an Enron-style scandal, with Dick as the fall guy. He and his wife, Jane (Leoni), suddenly can't maintain their affluent lifestyle, and Dick's tarnished rep leaves him unable to find a job. So they turn to a life of crime to pay the bills.
Cast Jim Carrey, Ta Leoni, Alec Baldwin, Richard Jenkins, Angie Harmon
Director(s) Dean Parisot
Writer(s) Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller
Genre(s) Comedy, Crime, Remake
Release Date Dec. 21, 2005
DVD Release Date April 11, 2006
Running Time 90 minutes
MPAA Rating PG-13 - for brief language, some sexual humor and occasional humorous drug references
Jim Carreys returns to the comedy genre with his latest offering, Fun with Dick and Jane, which is surprisingly funny. My expectations were fairly low coming into this movie and the first 20 minutes did not do much to inspire much optimism. Once Carreys character gets fired, the movie really picks up steam. There are plenty of laughs to be hand, everything from Dick being deported or the running gag of their Spanish-speaking son. The movie is fairly predictable but still enjoyable no the less. Tea Leoni also has some great moments in the film as she plays the role shes perfected, the loving wife (see The Family Man). Overall an enjoyable comedy.
A trio of 20-something backpackers takes a trip through the Australian Outback to explore Wolf Creek National Park and its infamous crater. When they return, their car won't start and they're forced to bum a ride from a stranger, who seems intent on keeping the coeds there, forever.
Cast John Jarratt, Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips, Gordon Poole (more)
Director(s) Greg McLean
Writer(s) Greg McLean
Release Date Dec. 25, 2005
DVD Release Date April 11, 2006
MPAA Rating R - for strong sadistic violence and language
The horror sub genre of torture films has had a bit of revival of late with this film and Eli Roths Hostel, which Ill review next week. Wolf Creek borrows heavily from the 70s horror classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre and a tiny bit from Wes Cravens The Hills have Eyes. The film builds plenty of mood and atmosphere; in fact the first half of the film is fairly tame. However, during this time this time the filmmakers build an excellent sense of foreboding and dread. Done mostly with excellent shots of the landscape which really emphasis the desolateness of the area in which the film takes place. Once the movie enters its second portion the sense of dread is replaced with sadism. John Jarrett does an excellent job in his portrayal of sadist hillbilly is disturbing. Where as most movies of this ilk have killers who are faceless killing machines ala Leatherface. Here Jarrett injects a lot of character into the antagonist, similar to what Robert Englund did in the 1st Nightmare on Elm Street. This film also does an excellent job of keeping the audience off balance, you are never really sure whom the lead character is and who, if anyone, will survive. If I have any real issue with this film its that the characters make horrible decisions, even for a horror movie, which make no logical sense. In addition to that, the final shot of the film is unneeded and kind of cheesy. That being said the overall experience isnt terribly affected.