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Every person that reviewed this movie poorly is clinically retarded. Would you believe severely traumatized?

All of you who loved the television series Get Smart should LOVE this movie. It may have quelled some fears if the tag “consultants: Mel Brooks and Buck Henry” came at the beginning of the movie, since these original series co-creators can hardly touch anything without it being comedic genius (I say anything because, I’m sorry, Dracula: Dead and Loving It should have been aborted like a…well put in your own analogy, I don’t want to sound uncaring.)

The movie follows Maxwell Smart (portrayed flawlessly by Steve Carell), a formerly portly analyst for C.O.N.T.R.O.L that has dreams of making it big like his hero, Agent 23 (played by Dwayne Johnson). When K.A.O.S. agents infiltrate the C.O.N.T.R.O.L. HQ and compromise the names of all their agents, it’s up to Max and Agent 99 (sensuously played by Anne Hathaway) to save the President and the city of Los Angeles from destruction.

First off, the casting was spot on. Steve Carell was able to keep the Don Adams sly confidence and dry wit without losing too much of the lovable ineptitude. Anne Hathaway plays 99 deliciously, with a mix of deadly sexuality and bite. The supporting cast does just as well, with notable performances by the ever fantastic Alan Arkin as the Chief, and Terrance Stamp as Siegfried of K.A.O.S. Even at the end we get Hymie, the lovable robot agent played by none other than the hilarious Patrick Warburton.

Now I must say it isn’t EXACTLY like the series. People need to realize that the type of humor Mel Brooks went for in the 60’s is not the type of humor he goes for today (if you’ve seen Robin Hood: Men in Tights, you know what I mean). While there was a lot of over the top humor back in the day, it wasn’t all sight gags, and they weren’t always so banal; it was somewhat more highbrow compared to the over the top sight gags of today. Obviously we have to very quickly get these characters up to speed, as they don’t have a gajillion episodes to flesh out and solidify characters, so we do miss stronger character arcs.

My two main disappointments were the direction they took agent 23’s character at the end (spoiler alert, he’s the bad guy too), and PART of the 86 character. For the Rock’s part, he played the character of suave, cool 23 very well. I just felt that making him a bad guy was a little forced; it didn’t quite feel right at the end of the movie. As for Max, Carell again does a great job getting the audience to like him as he tries to act courageous and knowledgeable, and is of course really just a complete fish out of water. There were parts though where he was actually TOO competent. The Max of the television series would NEVER have been able to actually hit something he aimed at with a gun, let alone several times. There also, and this is funny to gripe about, were not enough accidents.

A lot of the situations that Max got into, or got out of, were completely accidental. Anyone who watched cartoons from the 60’s and 70’s knows Hong Kong Phooey, who would act like he was the shit, but it was really his trusty cat Spot that would get him out of messes. In Get Smart, 86 would find his way into a situation and would either stumble out, or stumble around while Barbara Feldon got him out. That was part of Max’s appeal, that cocky self assuredness that never rubbed you the wrong way because you knew he meant well, and he acted that way because he was making up for the fact that half the time he was just faking it and was hoping to get credit for style points.

All in all it was an incredibly funny movie that paid a great deal of respect to the original series, and while a couple elements did fall under what would be seen as spot on, the overall picture was a joy to watch. I hope that they take note of the couple kinks in the characters and build on that for next time.

With the history surrounding Speed Racer, and the craftsmanship employed by the Wachowski Brother’s one would expect the final product of a feature film version of the classic anime series to completely blow the audience away. However, at the end of the two-plus-hour-film all you are likely to remember is the remarkable race scenes and how you’re likely to skip over just about everything else when the film hits DVD later this summer.


Speed Racer is a kid’s film at its core with bright colors, ADD inspired action, a rather dull and mundane story to follow and enough sugary sweet fluff to over-bloat the film by 45 minutes. At a long in the tooth two hours and fifteen minutes most kids will find themselves bored in the second act just before the amazing racing scenes at the end of the film. There’s enough here to drag your interest along for the full runtime, but newcomers to the series might find themselves checking their watch every few minutes.

As stated before, the writing is sub par at best, catering to the children mentality the film is designed for, but whereas other “children’s” films like Pixar’s stable state and a majority of Dreamworks’ work have subtleties that only adults can pick up on, Racer is a straight shooter, never giving the older demographic anything to decode.


The casting is probably the strongest aspect of the film with the highlight being John Goodman as Pops Racer. Emile Hirsch as Speed Racer does an admirable job in the roll after his breakthrough in The Girl Next Door and dramatic turn in Alpha Dog. Matthew Fox (Racer X) also provides an admirable performance although he isn’t in the film for a good amount of time and fans of the series may be troubled as to the modifications to his origin from the original series, although the Wachowski’s wisely correct any creative freedoms they may have attempted before the film is over.


Overall there’s just too much going against the film for it to really breakout into a hit. Its story is too simplified for such a long running time, the seizure inducing visuals are pure eye candy, but lend no substance to the film, and aside from the races, there isn’t a whole lot to come back and see again, even packed with special features on the upcoming home release. Speed Racer is crafted for the fanboy and the newcomer, yet seems to disappoint both groups equally. While a sequel is not very likely, one can only hope a little more time and money is spent to keep the film interesting between the fabulous races.

The most eagerly anticipated film of the summer is finally here, the long in gestation Transformers film came to the big screen never shying away from the controversy fans bestowed upon it. The choice of Autobots and Decepticons to be included was derided from day one by Generation 1 fans who wanted Soundwave included in the film, or Megatron to transform into his original pistol form, or Bumblebee to remain a VW Beetle. The list goes on of what people wanted to see in the film, but without actually seeing it, could they really be disappointed?

The question still remains open, but after seeing Transformers for the first of many times, and after reading the quotes, listening to the sound bites, analyzing the trailers one thing is entirely certain, Michael Bay knows how to do action movies, and Transformers is both his greatest film and a nostalgic fanboys dream come true.


The gigantic robots, who started life as a toyline and a comic book in the mid-1980’s, come to the big screen in a very big way. From the moment we see Bumblebee transform for the first time, to the triumphant battle between Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and Megatron (Hugo Weaving) your eyes are left in wonder at the spectacle before you. Transformers may be one of the single greatest achievements in visual effects on par with WETA Digital’s work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong (2005). The robots’ new look is sure to cause even more controversy, but by aiming for the “scientific aspect” of the transforming process ILM and the producers have captured each character’s distinct look while making the way they transform as practical as it can be for a 40-foot robot to transform into a mid-size sports car.

As a movie Transformers is a flawed film, there’s not much to the story that finds Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) buying Bumblebee at a car dealership and eventually unraveling into a plot to obtain the location of the All Spark Cube which crashed on Earth thousands of years ago. Its all really lip service to string together the thin storyline with epic battles pitting man against machine and, more impressively, machine against machine.

The most surprising aspect of the film is its focus on the humans more than the namesake robots, but in the end it doesn’t matter too much. Megatron has a criminally little amount of screen time, never appearing until the film’s climax, but his battle with Optimus Prime and his characteristic disregard for life (robot or human) make up for any shortcomings. Even Megatron’s single line of banter to Starscream about failing his mission makes any fan feel right at home.


The filmmakers certainly know where the series has been and what the fans expect. Throughout the two-and-a-half hour running time there’s in-jokes, self-referential quips, and classic lines reborn for a new generation. The biggest standout is the casting of Peter Cullen to reprise his iconic role as the voice of Optimus Prime. From the moment he declares, “My name is Optimus Prime…” you know the film has you, no matter how bad you think it might be, in the end, that bit of fan-service was a major turning point in your opinion of the film.

Not enough can be said about Industrial Light and Magic’s work, its Oscar worthy stuff bringing the boxy animated toys from the 1980’s and infusing new life, ideas, and artistic care into them in an effort to modernize them for generations who both grew up on the series, and are being introduced to it for the first time.


Transformers as an experience is unrivaled by anything at the box office this year, it’s the epitome of popcorn pleasure with large set pieces, even larger robots doing battle on those sets, and a fan base who will wait four hours in line the day before the official opening date to be one of the many to see a semi-truck transform into a hero. There’s going to be things written about how the story won’t stand up, or how it’s all just eye candy and lip service to fans with disposable income, but as one of those fans, Transformers was so much more than a nostalgic $9 trip down memory lane. It’s the movie going experience of a theater packed with fans, decked out in T-Shirts bearing the familiar Autobot logo, and cheering the very first time that red and blue Peterbilt appears on screen with the ever familiar and soothing voice.

Transformers is an experience like no other, and until the inevitable sequel, we may not see one like it again.

Jackass: Number Two lives up to everything we would expect after the first time and a successful TV show. The sequel is bigger and certainly pushes the limits of what we might consider good taste, but its all for a laugh, so, in the end, it works.

Like the original film, Number Two is book ended by some scripted sequences: a running of the bulls and a musical number with plenty of bodily injury thrown in for good measure. Between those we are treated to some of the most cringe inducing stunts even printed on celluloid. So many of the bits hit that it becomes almost impossible to hear the dialog spoken before and after jokes because the theater is uproariously applauding or laughing too loud. Not that this is a bad thing.

Truth be told, Number Two, much like the first time, is best seen with a large group of friends in a packed theater. Half of the experience is the atmosphere created by hundreds of jackass fans all sharing sympathy pains or laughing hysterically at the jokes. Even the dreaded “Junior High Explosion” that seems to ruin the movie-going experience week after week is kept in check (partly because of the film’s R-rating and because being noisy is part of the game).

Johnny Knoxville and the guys have upped the ante on themselves with the second installment in the series with some very creative pranks and some harking back to the old school roots of the series. Standouts include the Terrorist Cab Ride near the end of the film where one of the crew is dressed up to look Middle Eastern and asks to go to the airport spouting anti-American propaganda. Little does he know that the cabbie is, in fact, director Jay Chandrasekhar. Chandrasekhar stops the cab in a parking lot and pulls a gun causing laughter abounds from those in on the joke and chilling fear from those not.

Old school send-ups include fun with shopping carts, mini-bikes, and various other objects attached to what appear to be oxygen tanks and let loose off of a ramp into a lake. Every skit in the film seems to click even the most disgusting ones like director/producer Spike Jonze walking around in make up pretending to be an elderly woman whose robe keeps on opening up.

Jackass: Number Two successfully continues the long-concluded MTV franchise on the big screen. The film represents some of the grossest moments you’ll ever see in a film, but it also provides some of the biggest laughs of the year. It certainly won’t win any awards, but its definitely a film to see, providing you liked the series and can stand to see grown men vomiting uncontrollably.

I once heard an amazing quote that puts everything in perspective concerning the FOX network. To paraphrase it, “FOX develops amazing shows, sometimes the best in the business; they just don’t know how to handle them.” Never before has a quote shown so much enlightenment upon a single situation. Luckily, for all of us, those amazing shows also pique the interest of other companies, and in the case of Firefly, an ill-fated 2003 sci-fi romp, Universal saw the potential of the show, and gave creator Joss Whedon the pickup for a feature film.

Firefly, the precursor to Serenity, was, as described above, a sci-fi series nested comfortable in the “Friday Death Slot” that hasn’t seen a show escape since The X Files made the leap to Sunday’s. The show, focusing on an ensemble cast aboard the transport ship Serenity (Firefly-class) opened up the world of the future to the mind of Buffy and Angel creator Joss Whedon, who is known for taking chances in both his writing and direction of shows. I’m happy to say that Whedon successfully makes his feature film debut in what is, quite possibly, the best science fiction film in a decade or longer.

For the uninitiated Serenity focuses on the same ensemble crew from the television series still flying about, breaking the law, pillaging Alliance goods, and generally having a good time. The crew is composed of captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), his first mate Zoe (Gina Torres), her husband and pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk), engineer Kaylee (Jewel Staite), mercenary Jayne (Adam Baldwin) as well as fugitive passengers Simon (Sean Maher) and River (Summer Glau). The latter is the focus of the film’s story as her back story is analyzed a bit more than Whedon was able to in the TV show. For fans of the show the movie serves as both a proper series finale as well as a jumping point into a series of films.

One of Firefly‘s, and Buffy and Angel before it, greatest achievements was in the show’s writing. The film inherits this trait and builds upon it. Whedon seems incredibly comfortable crafting a bigger, more intricate episode of the show with an added budget for special effects and set design, both places Serenity excels beyond the competition. Similarly to Sci-Fi Channel’s Battlestar Galactica, Serenity is a piece of entertainment written around the characters, almost as though it was written for them instead of a viewing audience. Each one is fleshed out and entirely human in the way they act, behave, and react to the situations meeting them head on. This all comes into play fully as the film’s climax begins to really play with your emotional heartstrings as Whedon, once again, shows he is fearless when it comes to his characters and their mortality. While I won’t give anything away, prepare to be shocked.

You’d never be able to tell that Whedon has never directed a big screen production before, as his skills from the small screen transfer to the silver one with incredibly finesse. The movement of the camera is especially awesome as the opening scene of the film is a continuous shot for a matter of minutes without an obvious cut. Many first time directors, with or without previous TV or music video experience, can easily be overwhelmed when put at the helm of a feature film, not Whedon.

While the director should receive a lot of the praise for this wonderful film, the cast isn’t without accommodation as well. Each and every actor has shown the ability to create a memorable character that melds perfectly with the rest of the cast. Whether it is Mal and Jayne playfully arguing or Inara (Morena Baccarin) and Mal fighting their feelings for each other, the dialog is crisp, witty, and full of life. Whedon’s script is the film’s strongest point and can easily be considered for Oscar nomination if the tool’s within the Academy would acknowledge something besides the usual art-house cinema.

Whether or not the masses are ready for a new franchise built upon a sly wit, great characters, and an imaginative take on the future is beyond me, but for those enjoying excellent, award-caliber cinema, Serenity is a no-brainer. Easily better than George Lucas’ prequel trilogy, more alive than the excellent Battlestar Galactica, and more real than reality TV, Serenity is the kind of film that really makes you think about the sci-fi genre in a different light as it breaks the mold we’ve grown so accustom to over the years.

The Dukes of Hazzard, a film version of the hit TV show, is what I like to call a completely harmless movie, or in Hitchhiker terms: mostly harmless. The film simply exists, for what reason is the question you ask yourself when exiting the theater. There just isn’t anything special to it besides a hilarious spoof involving a few campus police officers, and when your biggest draw is a Hemi-powered Charger and Jessica Simpson’s body, it’s a wonder why you just don’t pull out a car magazine.

Everything you would expect to be in a Dukes movie is here, Boss Hogg looking to make lots of money, Bo (Seann William Scott) and Luke (Johnny Knoxville) screaming “Yeee-haw” while tearing apart a classic 1969 orange Charger (aka The General Lee). In fact, you’ll find the most satisfaction when the General is being put to the test by the Dukes power sliding through a roundabout or jumping gullies. Everything else is just sort of anti-climatic.

The plot, or what passes for one, is just an excuse to put Bo and Luke into a series of situations with comedic outcomes. You can tell the screenwriters thought up the jokes they’d like to tell, then wrote around them. This isn’t to say the jokes don’t work, because they do, and some very, very well.

The highlight of the film is the General Lee being pulled over by two campus police officers in a golf cart. Those who have seen Super Troopers could see this coming a mile away, but it was still funny. While there was a better way they could have done it, what we got still put a smile in my face and a tear in my eye from laughing. The rest of the jokes are hit and miss, which seems odd with the heightened screen presence of Scott and Knoxville who have both managed to make us laugh over the years. I guess even funny actors can’t pull sub-par writing out of the toilet.

Jay Chandrasekhar’s direction isn’t to blame for the film, as rumors persist that he couldn’t construct the movie he wanted to, and we know Broken Lizard can make a funny film (if we’re willing to forget Club Dread). Still, what we get is a fundamentally generic film cinematically that only shows signs of glory when it pulls bits form the TV show (freeze-frame, narration).

Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville do an adequate job playing the numb-skull cousins Bo and Luke with their asset rich cousin Daisy (Jessica Simpson) who spends the entire film in short shorts and low-cut tops (no complaint here). Willie Nelson as Uncle Jessie is an inspired choice, but he doesn’t have a whole lot to do here, ditto to Pauline (Lynda Carter) who has all but three lines in the entire film. Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg also delivers a great performance and makes a full white suit look good (in a purely hetero-kind-of-way).

What it all comes down to is the end credits are the best part of the film, bar-none. The blooper reel that shows various incarnations of the General Lee biting the big one and the actors blowing their lines provides the most laughs. The “who-cares” plot doesn’t provide the drive to really watch the film for anything else than Jessica’s ass and a hot orange car. If the powers that be at Warner Bros. decide to go for a sequel, they might want to invest in a screenwriter, or give us two hours of car-flying-fun. The Dukes of Hazzard may not be hazardous to your health, but you sure won’t feel good stepping out of the theater.

I don’t think I have ever had to write a harder review, and it isn’t because I saw a movie I knew was going to be great and it wasn’t, or because I saw a movie made by a good friend and didn’t want to give my honest opinion, it was because I saw a movie so out of the mold of movies that I don’t know where to begin as far as a review, or scoring the damn thing.

Jackass is just that kind of movie, where to begin? If you are going to this movie looking for plot, suspense, action, drama, or comedy, you aren’t going to get all of that. The comedy is there depending on your area of low brow humor and fun and some suspense is there waiting to see who is going to get reamed next and by what, but this isn’t your traditional movie, it is something better.

Jackass started as a two season series at MTV where it was versed to criticism and outcry from parents who made the TV their child’s babysitter and then got their panties in a bunch when it did something they didn’t like. Even after several children (obviously the dumb ones with negligent parents) tried to recreate some of the stunts on the show, the warnings went in place and Johnny Knoxville and company kept on entertaining America.

So the movie is basically an episode of the show times three in the length department and times 10 in the gross, weird, and fun actions they perform. Stunts range from the hilarious like Rent-A-Car Derby and Air Horn Golf  where in the latter the gang hides on a golf course in camouflage gear and blows air horns when prissy country-club folks are about to take a swing. This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

You also get into the gross where one cast member messes himself in his pants in preparation of going into a hardware store and using one of the display toilets, for real, which also proves to be one of the grossest things you have ever seen on the big screen. Nothing has to be grosser, and more vomit inducing, then the “pee-snow-cone” in which a cast member proceeds to eat the yellow snow our parents warned us about. This was the only point during the movie when I wanted to gag, because just watching it was so gross.

The movie itself isn’t trying to be a movie, but a series of skits and stunts that rely on the fan base of the show to bring in the audience. While the movie is full of warnings, cops at the entrance to the theatre to confirm your age, still parents brought in kids that must have been as young as five years old. Politicians scorn video games and movies like this for corrupting America’s youth, well your argument is about to eat crow when you realize that parents are bringing children into these movies you stuck up pricks!

Jackass is not about acting, plot, or story, it is about going to have fun, and I really think the movie gives you just what it promises, stuff you would never see on TV and a way to escape the terrors of real life to just have some fun. It succeeded on all accounts in my opinion, and when you read other reviews from “big” publications that claim it to be the “worst movie of the year” remember that the reviewers there don’t have the perspective to see this movie for what it really is, and while they try to make it stand up to cinematic standards, this movie can’t be handled that way, in my opinion this was a great movie, and there is no arguing that.