My Life in Ruins: “My Life in Ruins is saddled with an ill-advised script, which returns Vardalos to relatively familiar “Greek” territory but fails to consider the film’s target audience, who were probably hoping to see something on par with Wedding but instead receive a steady supply of cheap, toilet-oriented humor. Otherwise, the intended laughs are geared towards mocking single adult women, who could really improve themselves, perform better at work, and be blessed with a fantastic life if only they could just get their pathetic asses laid. It’s really that simple — a woman can recover her “kefi” (Greek for “mojo”) merely by hopping on a dick. Who wants some?” — Agent Bedhead
Year One: “It’s been four years since Harold Ramis directed a movie (The Ice Harvest), seven since that movie was recognizable as a comedy (Analyze That), and 16 since that comedy was actually funny (Groundhog Day). It’s not possible to assemble any kind of through-line or worldview or even sense of humor that would help explain Ramis’ c.v., with his film work the past couple decades veering erratically and seemingly uncontrollably between quality and, well, something considerably less so. His latest, Year One, isn’t the turnaround he needed, either. It’s a film as far removed from comedy and wit as possible without turning into an outright meta-parody of bad comedies themselves. It possesses no brains, no heart, and not a single spark of life or joy that would make it worth watching. Even when he’s fallen short of the mark, Ramis has still proven himself a capable filmmaker, but Year One is an unmitigated disaster, the kind of stupid, unenjoyable, lame idea of a movie that never should have made it past whatever deluded brainstorming session loosed it on an unsuspecting America.” — Dan Carlson
Trick r Treat: Review coming this week.
Assassination of a High School President: We don’t actually have a review of this movie, starring Mischa Barton and Bruce Willis. Some of us saw it at Sundance two years ago, and while it wasn’t bad, it hardly warrants a second viewing for the review. Suffice to say: It’s an attempt at a glossier, more mainstream version of Brick (a high-school noir), starring the great Reece Thompson (Rocket Science). It’s decent, and Bruce Willis is outstanding in a small supporting role as a douchebag principal. It’s worth a bottom spot on your Netflix queue.
Anvil: The Story of Anvil: “Anvil: The Story of Anvil is a documentary about a supposedly great and a supposedly massively influential early ’80s Canadian heavy-metal band that just never quite took off. In 1984, they were in Japan for a massive arena concert among aspiring “metal gods” — Bon Jovi, The Scorpions, and Whitesnake — but unlike the rest of the lineup at that concert, nothing ever really became of Anvil. This despite the fact that guys like GnR’s Slash, Motorhead’s Lemmy, and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich name-check them in the documentary as one of the three major early metal influences. God knows why. Their music is horrible. Thrashy, indecipherable, and throat-punchy — heavy on the drums and distortion and light on the melody. In other words, it’s the real metal, sans bubblegum or pop, and I hate that shit. Fortunately, the documentary itself — directed by Sacha Gervasi, who wrote The Terminal and who is a huge Anvil fan (he was a roadie for the band in the 80s) — is much better than the actual music. I think it’s meant to be a heart-warming, inspirational documentary about a band that sticks together despite their lack of success because they love the music, but I found it achingly depressing.” — Dustin Rowles
Dance Flick: “Much like this half-assed joke, the form of lazy parody relied upon in Dance Flick is also evident in many of the earlier Wayans films. In a sense, it’s difficult to fault the Wayans, on principle, for continuing to fall back upon this form of humor. After all, the very first Scary Movie managed to please most audiences, and, until just recently, even the most banal parodies were rewarded at the box office. Further, there’s really no use in griping about the lack of originality in these parody films, for Hollywood has already largely begun to rely on remakes, reboots, and adaptations. Hell, one may as well just do away with the expectation of original stories altogether, but, damn it, the purpose of a parody film is to be funny, and the Wayans ain’t bringing it here.” — Agent Bedhead