Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Secretly Awesome - Mr. Baseball

Release Date: October 2, 1992
Director: Fred Schepisi
Writers: Gary Ross, Kevin Wade, Monte Merrick
Cast: Tom Selleck, Ken Takakura, Dennis Haysbert, Aya Takanashi
Box Office: $20,883,046
Rotten Tomatoes: 13%

Tom Selleck plays aging, dick-head first baseman Jack Elliot, a veteran Yankee who gets traded off to Japan to play for the Dragons in Mr. Baseball. The Dragons' uptight manager, Uchiyama (played wonderfully by Ken Takakura), brings Elliot on to help them win the pennant and save his job, but stubbornness and ego get in the way, and Elliot ends up being more of a problem than a solution, bringing embarrassment and shame to the team, goofing around rather than owning up to the hole in his swing and accepting Coach's advice on how to fix it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hanna - ****

Hanna is the kind of movie that should be making one-hundred million dollars. It's original; it's intense; it has a great hero, fun villains, and some amazing action sequences staged in creative locations. It's gorgeously shot, and it also features a brilliant score by the Chemical Brothers, who use techno beats and lullabies that keep things fast-paced, even in the quieter moments. What more could you ask for?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cedar Rapids - ***1/2

Nice guy leaves his cozy surroundings and gets sucked into a lifestyle of chaos and debauchery... It's a familiar comedy premise, and a tired one at that. Ed Helms plays our nice guy, Tim Lippe, a small town insurance agent chosen to go to an annual insurance convention, where the Twin Diamond Award is given to the representative who displays outstanding character and respect for God. What's amazing about Cedar Rapids is that it completely sidesteps all of the boring pratfalls that most films of this kind seem to indulge.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Secretly Awesome - Vampire's Kiss

Release Date: June 2, 1989
Director: Robert Bierman
Writer: Joseph Minion
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Beals, Maria Conchita Alonso
Box Office: $725,131
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%

Whenever someone claims that Nicolas Cage is a terrible actor, I know I can name at least a half-dozen movies that person has never seen. Sure, some his recent stuff is pretty questionable, though not all of it (I'll get to some of those another time), but he has a solid bank of undeniably brilliant performances that will forever keep him far away from legitimately being labelled terrible.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Limitless - **

And we have our first contender for Most Deceiving Title of the Year, Limitless disappoints with its utter lack of imagination and ambition. What would you do if a pill could make you smarter? Apparently pretty much the same thing you would do if you won the lottery. Bradley Cooper plays a struggling writer who gets addicted to a hard-to-come-by street drug that allows him to use one-hundred percent of his brain. He gives up writing to play the stock market, and deducing from the film's hypothesis, brain use only correlates to how much money you want to make, and how fast you drive your car.