Hilarious ‘Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story’ is just as good ‘unrated’

[rating=4]Starring: Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Rip Torn, Justin Long
Director(s): Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writer(s): Rawson Marshall Thurber

The team takes to the line in 'Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story'
The team takes to the line in ‘Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story’

Who’d have thunk that a moronic and demoralizing school-age sport could make such a funny movie?

Dodgeball is probably one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years. Vince Vaughn hasn’t begun to annoy me just yet, and here he’s probably at his most charming. Ben Stiller is funny, even if he’s doing one of his oddball type characters, most of which I find stupid. I can’t think of any better compliment to give a comedy than to say that it’s just plain funny, and that’s what Dodgeball is from beginning to end.

Read moreHilarious ‘Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story’ is just as good ‘unrated’

Q&A with Gus Van Sant

Director Gus Van Sant with actor Michael Pitt on the set of 'Last Days'
Director Gus Van Sant with actor Michael Pitt on the set of ‘Last Days’

With the upcoming release of Last Days, the most recent effort by Gus Van Sant that hits theaters this Friday (July 22), a few roundtable interviews were conducted here in New York City a few weeks ago. Gus Van Sant sat down for one such roundtable, and the following is a transcript of that interview session. We thank Brad for providing it to us.

Read moreQ&A with Gus Van Sant

‘Ice Princess’ is gracefully charming

[rating=3]Starring: Joan Cusack, Kim Cattrall, Michelle Trachtenberg, Hayden Panettiere
Director(s): Tim Fywell
Writer(s): Screenplay by Hadley Davis; Story by Meg Cabot and Hadley Davis

Kim Cattrall and Michelle Trachtenberg in 'Ice Princess'
Kim Cattrall and Michelle Trachtenberg in ‘Ice Princess’

I’m really not a fan of figure skating. Just wanted to get that out right from the start. I really have no interest in it beyond Katarina Witt. But that didn’t stop me from liking Ice Princess.

Sure, it’s a little formulaic, but I think they crafted it so well that you can go with it. The well-told story has good characters, people you can feel for that are played well. Michelle Trachtenberg doesn’t really look like a high school senior, but is believable as the impish science geek with a love for figure skating. Unlike other actresses who are clearly too attractive to be the homely nerds the movie tries to convince you they are, Trachtenberg is very pretty but in a way that works for the role.

Read more‘Ice Princess’ is gracefully charming

‘The Crow: Wicked Prayer’ is just a bad movie

[rating=0]Starring: Edward Furlong, David Boreanaz, Tara Reid, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Dennis Hopper, Marcus Chong, Tito Ortiz, Rena Owen, Danny Trejo, Macy Gray
Director(s): Lance Mungia
Writer(s): Screenplay by Lance Mungia, Jeff Most, Sean Hood

Edward Furlong in 'The Crow: Wicked Prayer'
Edward Furlong in ‘The Crow: Wicked Prayer’

It isn’t often that I really dislike a film. More often than not there’ll be something in it that will stop me from hating it. It could be a scene, an actor or actress, any small little thing that will save it from total disgust.

There is no such thing in The Crow: Wicked Prayer.

This is a bad movie, pure and simple (hence the no popcorn rating). The dialogue is horrible, the acting is terrible, and the story is jumbled and poorly constructed. I mean, it’s not bad in a “bad movie” kind of way. It’s just bad. I actually was pretty shocked just how bad it was, on almost every level. I think perhaps the only thing that could have saved this movie, or at least made it worth it, was to have a little gratuitous nudity — and it doesn’t even have that.

Read more‘The Crow: Wicked Prayer’ is just a bad movie

Christina Ricci goes topless in ‘Prozac Nation’ … and it’s a little weird

Former child actress Christina Ricci goes naked for 'Prozac Nation'
Former child actress Christina Ricci goes naked for ‘Prozac Nation’

Sitting down to watch Prozac Nation, I think I expected a smarter movie. Not that the film lacked intelligence, but its title suggested much more than the film actually delivers. Honestly, I expected an exploration of depression and the societal dependence on anti-depressants like, well, Prozac. I didn’t get that. Instead, Prozac Nation charts the repetitive spiral of a young woman in the late 1980s as she slowly self destructs while attending Harvard University.

Read moreChristina Ricci goes topless in ‘Prozac Nation’ … and it’s a little weird

‘Hide & Seek’ predictable but well done otherwise

[rating=3]Starring: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue, Amy Irving, Dylan Baker
Director(s): John Polson
Writer(s): Ari Schlossberg

Dakota Fanning in 'Hide & Seek'
Dakota Fanning in ‘Hide & Seek’

Hollywood, and filmmakers in general I think, have become obsessed with the concept of “the flip”. That’s what I call it when a movie has a twist within the last five minutes that is supposed to shock and surprise the audience.

Hide & Seek sort of has two such “flips”, the main one being pretty darn obvious. Well, to me anyway. Either I’m getting to smart for these kinds of “flip” movies or their just not being done that well. Either way, I’m tired of “the flip”. It’s nearly impossible to pull off effectively, and almost always gets ruined because ultimately “the flip” is what everyone who’s seen the movie will talk about. And once it’s known that a movie has a “flip”, well, the “flip” is pretty much ruined.

Read more‘Hide & Seek’ predictable but well done otherwise