It's that time again folks as we take a look at a random handful of movies. Running from the absurd to the quirky with some high end action in between, The Random Roundup promises to be anything but predictable, yet hopefully informational for those planning their movie watching weekend for the weeks to come.
Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny
In their big screen debut, Jack Black and Kyle Gass attempt to bring in new fans and reignite old ones as well. The problem here is that the die-hard fans of the original HBO series have seen it all before, and those that know the dynamic duo only from their first studio album a few years back really have no clue what to expect. Rehashing many of the same jokes from the TV series, there is little new here. For the fans, however, it's still a fun reprisal that should keep them laughing throughout. There are a few new songs that crop up here and Kyle has hair. The bottom line: this is Tenacious D as we've always known and loved them. Hopefully their next foray will bring us new tales of the greatest band in the world.
Packed with an all-star cast including Jeremy Sisto, Barry Pepper, Greg Kinnear, Joe Pantiliano, and Jim Caviezel, Unknown comes across as a less in-your-face version of Resevoir Dogs. When Jim Caviezel awakes on the floor, he spies several bloodied and tied down companions. With no recollection of how they came to this situation, or even what their own names are, the victims soon band together to try and figure out who is who, eventually breaking down into distrust and accusations as each captive's memories return piece by piece. Not a masterpiece by any means, Unknown still manages to be a fun little mystery thriller that keeps the viewers guessing and on their toes throughout. The plot setup is fairly unique, giving us an interesting tale with a few surprises here and there as the mystery unfolds.
Bond is back and this time he's… blond?
Re-launching the long standing series once again, Casino Royale introduces us to the latest, and dare I say greatest Bond, Daniel Craig. Sure there are some purists out there that didn't care for it, but for me the return to a grittier, more violent, and action-oriented Bond was just what the franchise needed. With its jaw dropping Parkour opening sequence, the tone is set for the rest of the flick. What may be off-putting for some is the stripped down character. With few gizmos and gadgetry we get a Bond that is less the worldly playboy and more of a hardened killing machine and this is what makes Casino Royale such fun to watch.
To put it bluntly this Bond kicks ass and takes names, although one has to wonder how such a bad ass would let himself fall so hard for a bird. This is not your father's James Bond. This is a whole new story arc for the franchise. For myself, not being a fan of the Brosnan era and a little overtired of all the over the top gadgetry and super spy clichés, Daniel Craig has managed to make me consider myself a fan once again and look forward to his next installment.
Sure this has been around for a bit, but if you can manage to ignore the second entry, Blade: Trinity makes for a nice end-cap for the lukewarm trilogy. Adding Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel to the lineup, we get a fresh face on the action front. Wait, Ryan Reynolds as an action star? Hard to believe yes, but fear not, he's here more for the one-liners than for the buff action man role. Jessica Biel fleshes out the side plot of Whistler as well as improving the scenery overall. Throw in Parker Posey as one of the main villains of the film and we get a dark and quirky bad guy who's cute to boot. The Dracula turn for the plot was a bit much and makes the film seem overly cheesy as a result; however the fight scenes and overall mythos remain intact, making this a fun popcorn muncher that doesn't require too much of a thought process.
In this sequel to 1995's Get Shorty, John Travolta returns as ex-mafioso turned movie maven Chili Palmer. This time around Chili grows tired of the movie biz and turns his sights on the music world as he discovers the underused talent of Linda Moon (Christina Milian). If you were a fan of the original Chili Palmer opus then you'll be happy to know that Be Cool is more of the same. With a star-packed cast including Uma Thurman, The Rock, Vince Vaughn, Harvey Keitel, Cedric The Entertainer, Andre 3000, and loads of others, the talent behind this one is a given and their performances deliver as planned. The jokes are plentiful yet for the most part fail to rise to the level of side-splitting hilarity. Still, Be Cool packs plenty of chuckles and the plot surrounding this cast is solid enough to make for an enjoyable watch. The highlight here is the WWE's The Rock as Vince Vaughn's gay bodyguard. When presenting his audition monologue prepared from the cheerleader epic Bring it On, the hilarity peaks for this one.
Little Miss Sunshine has had loads of Oscar buzz as of late, which is impressive for this little indie that many may not have heard of. Steve Carell is a gay professor down on his luck and hating life. After his failed suicide attempt he is forced to move in with his sister so that he can be watched over. When the family's overly average daughter Olive is suddenly accepted into the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Rodondo Beach, the cash-strapped family must pile into the worn down VW bus to make the trip.
Joining Uncle Frank on this journey is brother-in-law Richard (Greg Kinnear), the failed motivational program author, Frank's sister Sheryl (Toni Collette), the overstressed matriarch of the family, Grandpa (Alan Arkin), Richard's foul-mouthed and perverse heroin addict father, and Dwayne (Paul Dano), Frank's Nietzsche-obsessed nephew who has taken a vow of silence until he achieves his goal of being accepted into the Air Force Academy.
Throw all of these quirky characters into a cramped road trip filled with mistakes, mishaps, and blunders and you have a black comedy that will make you laugh out loud, cringe in embarrassment, and sympathize with the most unlikely of characters all at the same time. Keep in mind that this isn't slapstick comedy going in and all should be entertained throughout. Leaning more towards the arty angle as far as humor goes, this one may be a little too quirky for some, yet remains a sweet family portrayal by the end.Powered by Sidelines