Monday, November 17, 2014

Wknd Box Office: Dumb And Dumber To, Beyond the Lights, Rosewater

Here is an interesting article from reviewing some of the movies that came out over the past weekend. This follows this post about some of the movies from last week and THIS POST about some movies that have been released over the past few years that you might have missed! This all follows this post about guidelines to choosing good movies to watch yourself!

Wknd Box Office: Dumb And Dumber To, Beyond the Lights, Rosewater

By Debbie Schlussel
The “Black” movie is the only one of the new offerings at theaters today that I can recommend, and even that is with several reservations, but it has a good message at the end. I can’t recommend Jon Leibowitz a/k/a Jon Stewart’s hypocritical and fraudulent directorial debut.


* “Dumb And Dumber To“: This “movie” is absolutely disgusting and completely unfunny, unless you find hilarious the idea of a teen Jeff Daniels putting peanut butter on his penis and getting his dog to lick it off. That’s the kind of absolutely depraved grossness that pretends to be “humor” in this movie. And shockingly, it’s only rated PG-13. Yes, parents, you, too, can have your thirteen-year-olds exposed to this vile flick. I did not laugh at all at this movie, and most of the audience full of free/promotional ticket holders with whom I saw it didn’t laugh much either. The movie makes the original 1994 “Dumb & Dumber” look like a great, extremely funny movie (and it’s definitely much funnier than this one). I saw the original with my late dad, and we laughed and laughed, but remarked how stupid it was when we left the theater.
It’s clear that stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels–after years of declining to do so–made this sequel for the paycheck. That’s the only reason this ridiculous, unnecessary steaming heap was made. They are both old and haggard, and two decades have not been kind to them appearance-wise or career-wise. Clearly, they wanted–and maybe, needed–the money. The only thing I learned from this movie is that unfunny “comedian” Rob Riggle has guybrows, the sculpted, feminine eyebrows you see on transvestites, and I didn’t need to see this movie to learn that insignificant fact.
The “story”: Daniels has been visiting Carrey at an assisted living facility for 20 years, where Carrey is in a catatonic state, or actually pretended to be for a 20-year-long gag. When he tells Carrey he can no longer visit him, that’s when Carrey finally comes clean and tells him he was faking it and using catheters and colostomy bags for 20 years just for a joke. Daniels tells Carrey that Daniels needs a new kidney and is seeking a donor for a transplant. Daniels learns that he had a kid 20 years ago with a woman played by Kathleen Turner. She put the kid, a daughter, up for adoption, and the kid was adopted by a rich, brilliant scientist. Daniels and Carrey spend the rest of the movie trying to track the kid down at a science and technology conference, so that Daniels can get his kidney. At the same time, they are being sabotaged by the various parties.
Believe me, I’m making it sound far better than it is. Sitting through this was painful, and I cringed almost the entire time. Not that I wasn’t prepared for it. You know what you are getting into with this. So, if you go into it anyway, it says a lot about you.
This movie is a national IQ and classiness test. If you liked it, you failed.

* “Beyond the Lights“: I had mixed feelings about this movie, but overall liked the message, which is that of a pop singer rebelling against her mom-ager’s morally bereft, sexifying of her image. And it’s also a love story that resembles that of the much cheesier and far inferior 1992 movie, “The Bodyguard.” What I didn’t like is that every villain in the movie is White–a White rapper (well, I agree they’re bad), the mom-ager (and, yes, I agree mom-agers a la Kris Kardashian and Teri Shields are bad, too), and a record company exec. I also could have done without the camera showing me an Obama book on the shelf of the good guy in this movie, a cop. Also irritating is that the male cop is basically the chick in the movie’s romance, and the woman calls the shots (though I suppose it’s that way for any famous female celeb who dates a working class guy). But the movie was much better than I expected and much better than the usual “Black movie” genre offers up.
The story: Noni (the beautiful Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the bi-racial kid of Minnie Driver (who really pushes her fake cockney accent) and an anonymous Black guy, has just become a giant pop star. Her album is about to come out, now that she’s scored a hit with a White rap star. But on the night of the Billboard Music Awards, after winning, she drinks champagne, and sits on the balcony of her hotel room crying. She’s about to commit suicide by jumping off and is saved mid-suicide by an off-duty cop (Nate Parker) who is subbing for her bodyguard. Soon, she’s in a romance with the cop, while struggling to maintain her sexy image. Her mother sexes her up and keeps pushing her to pose topless, etc. But we soon learn that Noni tried to commit suicide because she was tired of having a pimp as a “parent,” a mother who pushed her daughter to do anything that would make her a hit pop star, no matter how immoral. The movie ends with Noni rebelling, dressing more modestly, seeing less sexy songs, and getting in touch with her authentic self. So, I liked it. You rarely see this kind of thing glamorized in Hollywood. In fact, usually, it’s the exact opposite. So that was refreshing, and for that alone, it’s worth seeing.
I also found the movie entertaining and enjoyable. And it’s got its funny moments and lines. (The cop is named “Kaz,” which is short for “Kazam,” a name his parents gave him because, he says, they “thought it sounded African.”) But I’m troubled that this PG-13 movie features “Mile High Club” sex on a plane and the movie’s star barely dressed (her “shirts” are often just a few strategically placed chains). Even with the worthwhile message at the end, I don’t think many teens will get that. On the other hand, kids have no childhood today, and they’ve seen much worse, what with the Kim Kardashian full frontal nudity shots all over the internet, and so on. (The outfits Noni wears in this movie aren’t worse than what Miley Virus wears in public, sadly.)
For adults, though, it’s fine. A warning to guys: this is definitely a chick flick. But as chick flicks go, this one isn’t bad.
ONE-AND-A-HALF REAGANS (with reservations)

* “Rosewater“: This is the directorial debut of the king of pompous conceit, the arrogant Jon Stewart, who also wrote this long, slow, boring film. And, with this, he also marks his entree into mammoth fraud and hypocrisy. Though the movie is an attack on Iran, Stewart vocally sided with Iran-backed-and-funded HAMAS, this past summer, in its war against Israel. And he also supports Obama’s lackadaisical do-nothing policies on Iran and its race to obtain nukes, mocking all of us who are worried about a nuclear Iran. Stewart clearly has trouble connecting the dots and knows better, so he’s a complete fraud for making this movie. Add to that the fact that the words, “Islam” and “Muslim,” are never mentioned, which is strange for a movie that is supposed to be an attack on the ISLAMIC Republic of Iran, which claims to do everything in the name of allah, another word that isn’t mentioned.
Also extremely annoying is that this movie pimps upon us the continued claimed falsehood that the Iranian elections between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mir Hossain Mousavi were any kind of contest between evil and freedom ,and the false claim that Moussavi–the founder of Hezbollah and the mastermind of the bombings of the Jewish Community Center and Israeli Embassy in Argentina–was some sort of human rights proponent of any kind. Ditto for his supporters, who were just as extreme, but are here, as elsewhere, falsely portrayed as liberal democrats.
The story: Maziar Bahari, an Iranian freelance journalist who writes for Newsweek and other publications, has returned to his native Iran to cover the elections betweeen Ahmadinejad and Mousavi. He is arrested by Iranian police for appearing on “The Daily Show.” And he’s accused of being a spy for the CIA and the “Zionist-controlled media.” If ever there was proof that the media ain’t controlled by Zionists, it’s definitely self-hating, anti-Israel, Jew In Name Only (JINO) Jon Stewart.
Most of the movie shows Bahari in jail being tormented and beaten by Iranians who try to get him to admit he’s a Western spy. And he talks to ghosts of his dead Communist father, who was jailed under the Shah, and his Communist sister, who also was put in jail for her left-wing activities. Like I said, the movie is boring and slow and there isn’t much there. It’s great that a movie shows us the obvious–that Iran is a bad place and that it’s full of human rights abuses. But, again, it’s not news, and Jon Stewart is the last person who should be telling us about it, anyway.
That Stewart wrote and directed this hack-ish production is obvious. It’s full of weak plot devices, such as the ghosts of dead relatives with whom the lead character has conversations, herky-jerky flashbacks and flashforwards, and dumb graphics and Twitter hashtags drawn onto buildings and scenes. Very amateurish. And none of this does anything to relieve the boredom that is a constant in viewing this movie.
At the end of the movie, Stewart has a stark postscript about how bloggers, writers, and journalists are jailed and silenced in human rights abuses all over the world, a conveniently broad moral equivalency statement when you consider that the only places where journalists are muzzled, silenced, and imprisoned are Muslim and Communist countries. Jon Stewart knows this and knows better. And, so, given that and his defense of HAMAS and his mocking of those opposed to Iranian nukes, this movie is simply a giant, steaming heap of intellectual dishonesty. Plus there are several lines in the movie seeking to make the current Iranian regime of ayatollahs morally equivalent to the Shah, as if there is any similarity (the Shah was much better, of course).
I would recommend this movie much more if it weren’t written and directed by the hypocrite Jon Stewart, because it depicts the Iranians very accurately (and though it refuses to say so, it depicts much of the Muslim world as it is). But movies aren’t made in a vacuum. And I wouldn’t give a penny to this creep. If Stewart rotted in an Iranian jail, I’d say he deserves his captors and they deserve him, and let allah sort it out.
You can’t make a movie that purports to say one thing while 365 nights of the year on your Comedy Central show, you say the exact opposite to easily-fooled millions of American minds of mush . . . and expect us not to notice.

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