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Free Birds Review


Good

An energetic sense of the absurd helps make this animated romp entertaining, even though the script is almost painfully stupid. But the pace is so brisk, and the stream of deranged jokes so continual, that kids will find it hilarious and grown-ups won't be able to stop smiling. So who cares if the story makes no sense at all?

Our hero is a scrawny turkey named Reggie (voiced by Wilson), who's an outcast on his farm because he's both smart and naive. When he's accidentally pardoned by the US President on Thanksgiving, he's living the high life until the meathead turkey Jake (Harrelson) kidnaps him, ranting about a mission to travel back in time to stop the pilgrims from starting the Thanksgiving turkey tradition to begin with. Sure enough, they find a time machine and off they go to 1621, where they team up with a colony of native American turkeys led by Broadbeak (David) and his feisty daughter Jenny (Poehler). But they're also being pursued by a relentless human hunter (Meaney).

The screenwriters conveniently ignore the fact that more turkeys are eaten globally at Christmas than at America's Thanksgiving, but never mind. They also pack the script with a continuous stream of riotously warped gags, random movie references and crazed action sequences. Although even a 5-year-old will be confused that 17th century pilgrims are rendered more like 19th century cowboys. This continual sense of incoherence gets even more annoying later, when the plot abandons even its own tenuous sense of logic. But by then we have realised that it's pointless to resist.

Continue reading: Free Birds Review

World Premiere Of 'Free Birds'

Scott Mosier and Aron Warner - World Premiere of 'Free Birds' held at Westwood Village Theatre - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 13th October 2013

Scott Mosier and Aron Warner

Zack And Miri Make A Porno Review


Very Good
Zack and Miri Make a Porno is the latest film by Kevin Smith and, for better or for worse, it's the same movie the 38-year-old New Jersey native has been making for the last 14 years. That isn't to say there aren't changes. The setting is no longer his beloved hometown and the characters, though certainly of the same mindset, are not members of the director's View Askew universe. There is also the matter of Seth Rogen who constitutes, with the lone exception of Ben Affleck, the only bona fide movie star Smith has cast in a leading role to date. That being said, I'm sure Rogen would let out a chuckle at the thought of himself as any sort of star.

As with most of the filmmaker's oeuvre, all you need to know is in the title. Zack (Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are best friends, living together and working crap jobs in Pittsburgh. They barely make rent and often substitute frivolous pleasures like sex toys and hockey skates in lieu of water and heat. It's at a high school reunion that they reconnect with Miri's high-school crush Bobby Long (Brandon Routh of Superman Returns) and his lover (Justin Long), both gay porn stars earning triple-digit incomes in Los Angeles. At a bar afterwards, Zack realizes that a similar career path would solve Miri's and his financial troubles.

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Clerks II Review


Very Good
Kevin Smith is a deceptively good filmmaker. Often criticized for a filmic paralysis that has seen his style advance very little from the amateurish and unpolished production of the original Clerks, he has maintained a very plain and unaffected style of storytelling that serves him and us very well. In Clerks II, the plainness of his production lends the film an effortlessness and reality that compounds the humor of Smith's script and underscores the banality of the world he captures. The film has a relaxed pitch-perfect tone that gently draws you in before bitch-slapping you in the face with some of the most acerbically constructed, sporadically gut-busting, brilliant, base, and repulsive splotches of hilarity cinema has produced and probably wouldn't dare repeat.The story is suitably minimalist. Former mini-mall clerks Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) now work at Mooby's fast food restaurant. Randal spends his days badgering the customers and perpetual employee of the month Elias (Trevor Fehrman), an uber-Christian uber-nerd with a penchant for Peter Jackson. Dante has slightly more to do. Just as he is about to make the move to Florida with fiancé Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach) and begin a life he has been threatening to live for twelve years, he finds himself vacillating between his affections for Emma and his Mooby's manager Becky (Rosario Dawson). The story's tensions are these: Will Dante choose the woman he really loves? Will Randal realize his life is slipping away? Will Smith really show cinemagoers the special talents of Kinky Kelly? Of course, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) come along for the ride.Clerks II is, aside from its charm and tone, a very funny movie. The conceit of an under patronized fast food hellhole allows Smith's characters time and space to simply riff on anything and everything they like. Entrenched in the culture of internet blogging and talkback, Smith has crafted some fine and ultra-current dialogue for these diatribes. A heated conversation between Randal, Elias, and a customer, in which the battle between Star Wars and Jackson's Rings trilogy is contested, seems lifted from the pages of any of a countless number of film forums but laced with Smith's trademark zing. Randal, half huffy footballer and half super geek, is particularly hilarious at tearing shreds off Jackson's films. By the time he has concluded with "Even the trees walk in those movies!" I was gasping for breath. Other mirthful moments involve the buggery of donkeys, the fundamentals of "ass-to-mouth," and Jay's wonderfully oddball take on Silence of the Lambs' penis-tucking Buffalo Bill.Clerks II is elevated by an unsentimental heart always pulsing just beneath the surface of its irreverent movements. Smith's plain style captures the banality of his characters' lives -- the dirty floors, the rusting signs, the human imperfections -- and his dialogue turns away occasionally from obsessions with the body to matters of the soul. The dilemma Dante faces is very real and treated with delicate pathos in the script, and O'Halloran is effective as the conflicted clerk. At first I found him unsatisfactory as a romantic lead, his Ricky Gervais appearance and too-gentle demeanor not quite adding up to what I suspect Ms. Dawson might look for in a man. However, as the film progresses this becomes entirely the point. He is the everyman with the same kind of hidden heart as Smith's film. Anderson as Randal, the crook to O'Halloran's straight man, gives another performance that, whilst showy, is always believable.Newcomers Dawson and Fehrman fit well into Kevin Smith's New Jersey universe. Dawson is the precise piece of radiance required to light up the dull landscape and Fehrman, while perhaps the least believable character, certainly attacks the stereotype he plays with gusto. Clerks II is a fine balance between vulgarity and humanity that skimps on neither. Smith and his team should revel broadly at creating this appealing vignette of Jersey life and we can revel in watching it.Now that's a happy meal.

Dogma Review


Good
That's it. Kevin Smith is going to Hell. Big Hell, with a capital H.

In Dogma, Smith's long-awaited and already vilified indictment of the Catholic church, the auteur has gone to great lengths to show us he can take on any establishment and gut it wide open. To wit:

Continue reading: Dogma Review

Jersey Girl Review


Good
Kevin Smith grows up. The writer/director from Red Bank, N.J., temporarily retires his trademark Silent Bob shtick for Jersey Girl, which sticks to a cute but overused plotline, occasionally branching out to include a few (but not enough) sarcastic observations addressing parenthood.

Though it wasn't pre-planned, Smith's film also puts the final nail in the "Bennifer" coffin then begins the resurrection process on Ben Affleck's floundering, Gigli-ravaged career. For the first time in a long while Affleck carries a decent picture, making a stronger connection to Smith's casual dialogue than he does with any of his co-stars.

Continue reading: Jersey Girl Review

Chasing Amy Review


Excellent
The intro sequence of Chasing Amy, comic book frames of oddly familiar characters, informs us immediately that we are entering the world of Kevin Smith. That world is one over-populated with comic book fanatics, philosophical drug dealers, and ambitionless twenty-somethings. To Smith, the film's director, that world is New Jersey.

Like characters found in other recent Gen X movies, Smith's heroes are unjustifiably hip. Chasing Amy there are two groups of characters, Jersey boys afraid of the city, and fixtures of the NYC underground. But regardless of background, every character in Chasing Amy is poised with a witty remark or comical/philosophical riff on love or life. Smith even highlights the (self)-importance of his protagonist, played by Ben Affleck, by unabashedly naming him after the coolest literary character of the twentieth century, Holden Caulfield.

Continue reading: Chasing Amy Review

Reel Paradise Review


Good
In June 2005, my friend Mark Frauenfelder moved his family (with wife and two young daughters) from first-world America to third-world Rarotonga, a small island in the South Pacific, for reasons that are best left explained in Mark's copious writings on the subject. By October, they'd moved back to civilization, having experienced rundown accomodations, the perilous difficulty of living virtually off the grid, hungry insects, and a series of debilitating illnesses in a land unprepared to deal with epidemics. I can totally understand why he left.

John Pierson's adventure in Reel Paradise is hauntingly similar, though somewhat more successful. As old-school indie film supporter, producer, and star of IFC's Split Screen, Pierson found himself bored after four years of dragging himself to student film festivals and low-budget junkets, and he struck on the idea of visiting the most remote movie theater in the world. He found it -- or one of them, anyway -- on the Fijian island of Taveuni, a 300-some seat movie theater which he promptly purchased.

Continue reading: Reel Paradise Review

Clerks Review


Excellent
Ten years ago, independent filmmaker Kevin Smith got his start with this little film that has since become one of indie cinema's greatest inspirations. Made for the paltry sum of $28,000, Clerks is an incredible success that deserves its hype.

Clerks is a spectacular joyride. Filmed in 16mm black and white, the film packs in non-stop humor (and extreme profanity) from start to finish, as the story traces a day in the life of Dante (Brian O'Halloran), a twentysomething convenience store clerk still living with his parents.

Continue reading: Clerks Review

Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back Review


OK
It's time to say "goodbye," according to Kevin Smith, to his token recurring characters -- the C3PO and R2-D2 of the local Quick Stop -- Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith). Since their inception as two stoner losers hanging out in front of the local Quick Stop "smokin' blunts and kickin' asses" in Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob have received ever expanding roles in Smith's later features -- Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma. But when these two guys showed up in a cameo in Scream 3, that was the moment when they "jumped the shark" (aka lost their unique appeal and devolved into would-be Happy Meal figurines). I wouldn't be surprised if two 10-foot tall character replicants greeted all guests at Miramax's HQ.

If you looking for a plot in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, don't bother. Smith uses the safe convention of repetition by including certain key locations of his first three films and all of their main characters -- minus Dogma. By doing this, Smith creates a familiar universe for Jay and Silent Bob to venture through and trick the audience into remembering their old favorites and ignore the throwaway script.

Continue reading: Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back Review

Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back Review


Good

Somewhere out there in the cinematic ether there's an elusive line between lewdly moronic raunch comedies like "Tomcats" or "Freddy Got Fingered" and sophomoric, low-brow sex and gross-out romps that can make even intellectual types laugh until $3 concession Coca-Cola comes out of their noses.

I don't know where that line is exactly. All I know is that "Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back" is hilarious.

The latest low-budget, high-dialogue laffer from Kevin Smith -- writer-director of "Clerks," "Mallrats," "Chasing Amy" and "Dogma" -- this film puts his perennial cameo characters front and center for a combination road-trip/ruthless Hollywood satire that is so blanketed with ribald raillery it feels like machine-gun fire hitting your funny bone.

Continue reading: Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back Review

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Scott Mosier Movies

Free Birds Movie Review

Free Birds Movie Review

An energetic sense of the absurd helps make this animated romp entertaining, even though the...

Zack and Miri Make a Porno Movie Review

Zack and Miri Make a Porno Movie Review

Zack and Miri Make a Porno is the latest film by Kevin Smith and, for...

Clerks II Movie Review

Clerks II Movie Review

Kevin Smith is a deceptively good filmmaker. Often criticized for a filmic paralysis that has...

Dogma Movie Review

Dogma Movie Review

That's it. Kevin Smith is going to Hell. Big Hell, with a capital...

Jersey Girl Movie Review

Jersey Girl Movie Review

Kevin Smith grows up. The writer/director from Red Bank, N.J., temporarily retires his trademark Silent...

Advertisement
Chasing Amy Movie Review

Chasing Amy Movie Review

The intro sequence of Chasing Amy, comic book frames of oddly familiar characters, informs us...

Reel Paradise Movie Review

Reel Paradise Movie Review

In June 2005, my friend Mark Frauenfelder moved his family (with wife and two young...

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Movie Review

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Movie Review

It's time to say "goodbye," according to Kevin Smith, to his token recurring characters --...

Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back Movie Review

Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back Movie Review

Somewhere out there in the cinematic ether there's an elusive line between lewdly moronic raunch...

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