The Alpha Freebie and Omega Piranha Social
Alpha and Omega: "At first, Alpha and Omega's ultimate issue involves a shortage of food and, consequently, two different wolf packs warring over hunting territory, but I guess the screenwriters took an extended lunch break and forgot all about that tidy little mess. Instead, the plot devolves into a matter of star-crossed mates fighting against the inherent social strata within wolf packs. As a fun-loving, ne'er-do-well Omega, Bogey Humphrey (Justin Long) secretly loves one of his lifelong friends, an Alpha named Kate (Hayden Panettiere), who thinks Humphrey is passably cute but has resigned herself to an arranged Alpha marriage; and although the pair's fate is forecasted in all sorts of Lady and the Tramp shades, the pressure is on to extend this pic to the 90-minute mark. So, Kate's father, Winston (Danny Glover, a shame, but prepare yourself for even worse) strikes a deal with Tony (Dennis Hopper, going out with a fizzle) to have Kate marry Tony's alpha son, Garth (Chris Carmack); presumably, this mating shall end the feud between tribes. Unfortunately for Kate, Garth just happens to be David Beckham of wolves; that is, Garth is the perfect physical specimen until he opens his mouth, thereby releasing a howl that sounds like Mariah Carey in heat and extinguishing all interest on the part of Kate." - Agent Bedhead
Piranha: "Generally speaking, audiences reap little to no benefits from lowered expectations that develop as an inevitable defense mechanism against the overpriced crap shoveled into movie theaters. Sure, there's the occasional pleasant surprise, but filmmakers must intuitively sense that audiences will continue to tolerate a nearly infinite supply of shitty films (so long as the trailer looks halfway decent and gives away the best moments of the entire movie in question). In the most bizarre cases, however, the rarest of cinematic events -- the movie that is far more satisfying than it ever had any right to be -- occurs. Such is the case with Piranha 3D, with director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) stepping in to helm a faithful yet superior remake of Joe Dante's 1978 original. Screenwriters Peter Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg rework the original premise with a needless (although not entirely unwelcome) scientific backstory, which is damn near total bullshit but plays a lot better than Dante's mutated, chomping escapees swimming downstream like a load of errant, mechanized sperm. In addition to losing that unwelcome imagery, the story peppers itself accordingly with wry banter and effective tension-building devices until the second act, during which the hysteria suddenly kicks into high gear. It also helps immensely that the remake benefits from some successful stunt casting -- Elizabeth Shue, Christopher Lloyd, and Richard Dreyfuss -- all recruited for a sense of nostalgia, which also reminds us of a time when 3D movies were about sheer fun rather than representative of an extra surcharge upon far too many kiddie flicks (can't buy just one ticket) and opportunistic piles of Shyamalan-infested crap." - Agent Bedhead
The Freebie: "The Freebie seems like a bad idea from the start -- two young hipster marrieds, together some seven plus years, decide that it's only logical that a couple as enlightened as they can go out and have one night stands and be none the worse for wear. Yet, writer/director/star Katie Aselton succeeds because she hates these stupid bastards just as much as we do. The Freebie is honest and smart and ugly, riding on the outstanding chemistry between Aselton and her co-star Dax Shepard, whose performance might have very well been the degree of difficulty that propelled this into the gold medal category. The Freebie rings painfully true, but eschews any of the slapstick or staged fights that would cripple this as a studio film. What makes the flick so endearing is that, as in real life, Aselton avoids going for the simple solutions. It's a textbook example of what every indie romance should be -- ugly, beautiful, and sincere." - Brian Prisco
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