We’re The Millers

When I first watched We’re The Millers, I thought that this was a very average and underwhelming comedy in comparison to many other films of the genre, but sadly in this age of modern comedy, this is more the norm than the exception.

Likeable stoner and local dealer David (Jason Sudekis) has his drugs and money stolen after helping his young neighbour Kenny, (Will Paulter) protect local homeless girl Casey (Emma Roberts) from a gang of thugs. With the loss of a bunch of drugs and money that doesn’t belong to him, David is forced by his boss, local drug lord Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms) to import a “smidge” of drugs from Mexico back into the U.S. in an RV.

That “smidge”, of course, turns out to be a complete RV’s worth of drugs. Forced with almost certain capture David comes up with the plan of creating a fake family using Kenny and Casey as his children while enlisting the help of kind hearted stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) as his wife. Of course, this being a comedy, various mishaps and situations occur which range from the silly to just plain absurd and this continues until the end credits, almost laugh free. There is however a dancing scene featuring a stunning looking Jennifer Aniston which did however keep my attention for a few minutes at least.

We’re The Millers must have sounded like a fun pitch to studio executives, with enough potential to be a solid comedy, but sadly the final execution is deficient of laughs throughout most it’s run time because the film is so heavily reliant on situations with are so absurd, unrealistic and forced – even for a comedy –  that the pay off to each joke barely raises a chuckle with the exception of one great joke in the end credits, and when the best joke in the film is a deliberate flub at the end of the film, you know you’ve just experienced a mediocre comedy.

In hindsight We’re The Millers definitely isn’t as bad a modern comedy as one would expect since watching the absolute laughter free zone that was Movie 43 only a few days later, but it’s a film never elevates itself above average.

2.5/5

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Dumb And Dumber To

Within thirty seconds of the opening credits involving a joke utilising a urine bag, you know two things about Dumb & Dumber To. One, it’s a Farelly brothers film and two, you’re in for nearly two hours of low brow humour.

Following on twenty years after the original film, Lloyd is a patient at a mental hospital who has been faking a catatonic state all for a practical joke, meanwhile Harry needs a new kidney and is rather shocked to find out that he is adopted by his Asian parents. Of course the idea of a compatible Kidney from his “parents” is now flush down the toilet like this script should have been. Devastated by this turn of events and with few options, Harry & Lloyd are given a bunch of old letters which show Harry has a child with a long lost flame. With a long lost daughter given up for adoption, Harry & Lloyd go on a cross country journey to find her  as she may be Harry’s only viable option for a new kidney.

It’s been twenty years since the last film, it appears that the script, is about the same vintage as well as it feels like portions of the script were written not long after the successful run of the original film, put into a drawer and just forgotten about until recently, until the producer remembered that this bilge was there, so the script was dusted off and a few minor changes made to adjust for the twenty year difference between films. This is not entirely a bad thing as there are one or two really funny jokes in the film, but they are few and far between and there are more cringe worthy ones that good ones.. Chemistry between Carrey and Daniels still holds up, in fact Daniels steals the show on this occasion from Carrey and this is not a bad thing. Most of the cast in the film fit into their very simply written roles well, my only dislike is Rob Riggle. I just cant figure out how on Earth this boorish oaf wiggles his way into films, he is a charisma vacuum who spoils any movie I’ve seen him in.

Is this sequel unnecessary? YES! Does is pale in comparison to the original, YES! But this doesn’t mean that the film should be crucified for these reasons, in fact there are many other sequels which are worse than this. Dumb & Dumber To is plainly a Farrelly brothers film, it’s crass, stupid and low brow, but in comparison to their previous abomination Movie 43, Dumb & Dumber To is almost Citizen Kane in comparison. If you’re a fan of the original film, you should still get a few kicks out of this second adventure for Harry & Lloyd, for everyone else, your mileage may vary.

2.5/5

Suicide Squad Still Sucks!

I’m beginning to think that I’m a masochist. Earlier this year I watched Batman Vs. Superman and was both disappointed and frustrated about how dour and depressing the DC universe had become. Paired with a story line that was almost nonsensical, Batman Vs. Superman was one of my least liked superhero films ever.

Fast forward several months and my less than positive feelings towards Batman Vs. Superman were vastly overshadowed as I watched the utter narrative mess that was Suicide Squad. Suicide Squad was without a doubt, not only one of the worst films I have seen this decade, but the worst Superhero film since this current fascination with superhero films began.

Over the weekend I thought I would give the recently released “extended cut” of Suicide Squad a go due to the improvements made with the “extended cut” of Batman Vs. Superman which went some way to raise my opinion of Zack Snyder’s bloated addition to the DC universe.

Sadly the modest improvements found in the “extended cut” of Superman Vs. Batman have not had the same positive effect with Suicide Squad. The added running time  of the “extended cut” has only added to the excruciating factor of the film. It is still an absolute narrative mess, the characterisations are woeful – especially the Joker – and the film still plods from rubbish action set piece to another rubbish set piece with no real story line in between.

Whoever cut the original and now extended cuts of these films together needs to go back to film school. That said, a film editor can only work with what they have been given and no film, no matter how talented the director, can overcome a limp, wet noodle of a script. Unsurprisingly to me, both the direction and writing in this travesty are the work of David Ayer, a man whose previous films I have also not rated very highly at all.

The “extended cut” of Suicide Squad is for masochists. If you like to inflict pain on yourselves, by all means give it a watch. But for the more discerning film watcher who isn’t a superhero nut job, the “extended cut” doesn’t improve on the utter rubbish that was the theatrical cut, in fact it only inflicts more pain on the viewer.

Miracle Mile Bluray

Its early 1990 and the Cold War is slowly winding down, but this 12 year old was still living under the threat of nuclear war that had been a constant threat for many years. My love of films is already well established thanks to a very cool mum who would let me watch any -film – within reason – so long as she got to watch the more adult oriented films with me and if I had any questions about things I didn’t grasp, I would have to discuss it with her.

Mum always believed in letting me see what the real world was like, rather than sheltering me from it, I still appreciate that. Every Friday I would go on a trip to the local video store to get the usual 5 weekly movies for $10 deal and every weekend I would spend that weekend watching that weeks selections.

One film that completely stuck with me during this time was the Steve De Jarnatt film Miracle Mile. What started out as your usual action/thriller story, quickly evolved into one of the first films I had seen that didn’t have the usual Hollywood ending that I had seen so many times before. It blew me away!

What starts out as a budding romance film, quickly evolves into a tense thriller about a potential nuclear attack from Russia after our main character receives a telephone booth phone call from an incorrectly dialled number telling him that the missiles have launched.

A few years earlier I had seen – and loved – John Badham’s War Games, but Miracle Mile wasn’t made for teenagers like Badham’s film. Miracle Mile was a gripping film for a 12 year old about the gradual descent into madness that occurs when civility begins to crumble when nuclear attack is imminent.

What follows is a tense and gripping 90 minutes that still sticks with me, 26 years later. The last time I saw this film was in the late 1990’s on an old beaten up VHS rental as it was always very difficult to purchase this film for home consumption in Australia.

Thankfully, 25 years after release, I have finally been able to acquire a bluray edition of Miracle Mile thanks to a recent release of the film by Kino Lorber. Even though it’s been 16 years since I’ve last seen the film, it still holds up with as much impact as it did when I first saw it 26 years ago.

I’m glad that Kino Lorber have gone to the trouble of creating a new transfer for this release as this is also the first time I’ve seen the film in it’s original aspect ratio – seeing as the previous VHS releases were panned and scanned – and the results are pleasing for a smaller distributor considering they don’t have the budget of the bigger studios. It’s also nice to a good selection of extras on the disc like audio commentaries & featurettes which are more than just filler.

It seems that today many distributors winding down comprehensive supplements for monetary reasons, so again it’s good to see these included which add both enjoyment and added production knowledge of the film for the viewer, the audio commentaries are especially well put together and informative.

Miracle Mile is one of those films that should be in any discerning collection. It still holds up brilliantly after 28 years considering it’s low budget origins.

Rating: 4/5

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Trailer

The original Pirates Of The Caribbean film was a damn enjoyable ride, but then there were vastly diminishing returns for the rest of the trilogy. The standalone fourth film was again more of the same with some minor improvements, but on the whole forgettable.

Fast forward five years and we now have the trailer for the next film in the franchise and I have to say, it certainly looks a lot darker in tone to the previous films. Of course, this is an initial teaser and we are talking about Disney here, so one has to presume they will play it safe in the long run. I do however remain interested in this more than the previous film.